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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Man stabs brother to death in Sipili

By David Kiarie and Maureen Kiarahu

A youthful man from Ririchua village in Sipili division died this morning following a fight with his brother.
The man who was only identified as Morgan is said to have succumbed to serious injuries inflicted on his body with a knife by his younger brother during the quarrel.

According to reliable sources in the village, the deceased in his mid 20s picked a quarrel with his brother on Sunday night after he and his mother demanded to know where his younger brother had spent on Saturday night.

The assailant is said to have been irritated by repeated questions from both his mother and the elder brother and started exchanging bitter words with the two.

As the family quarrel continued, the assailant dashed for a kitchen knife and stabbed his brother on the ribs and on the hand as the mother watched helplessly.

The deceased was then rushed to a health facility in Sipili where his wounds were dressed before being referred to Nyahururu district hospital for specialized treatment.

 He however succumbed to the injuries few hours after being admitted at the hospital.

Laikipia Rural Voices could not establish whether the assailant had been arrested by the time of publishing this story.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Man lynched in Sipili for stealing maize

By David Kiarie

A youthful man was on Friday night lynched by an angry mob from Karungubii village in Sipili location after he was caught stealing maize from a neighbour.

Villages troop to a scene at Karungubii in Sipili to view charred remains
of a thug who was touched for stealing maize.
The man who was only identified as Peter was beaten senseless by the irate villagers before setting him on fire less than 500 metres from his home.

Eyewitnesses told Laikipia Rural Voices that the man in his mid 30s was caught carrying a bag of maize which he had hid in a thicket earlier in the day.

According to a neighbour, Charles Gitau, the man had stolen five bags of unthreshed maize from a store belonging to Maina Kahu earlier in the day and hid the bags in a bushy area a few meters from Kihu’s homestead where he would pick them latter under the cover of darkness.

When night fell, the deceased went for his loot. But unknown to him, the owner of the maize and several other villagers had discovered the stolen bags of maize and decided to leave them untouched and instead wait for whoever would come to pick them.

At around 11.00 pm, the thug emerged from the bush and went ahead to collect the bags of maize. But barely before he would move about ten metres, the irate villagers who were armed to the teeth descended on him beating him senseless before setting him on fire.

When we visited the scene yesterday morning, tens of villagers were milling at the area to catch a glimpse of the remains of the thug whom they said has been terrorizing them for years.

Kahu said the thug could have stolen more maize saying he had noted that the level of his maize in the store was reducing although he had not known who was responsible.

Another resident Lucy Kihara said she lost more than a dozen bags of maize, some beans and maize flour which she had kept in her store to the village thieves.

“Thugs raided my home twice in less than a month when I had taken my child to a nearby clinic and swept all the food that I had stored. I do not even know what I will feed my children on,” said the mother of four.

The deceased is said to be a criminal who has served over one year in jail after he was convicted of stealing a neigbours cow.

The residents say a week hardly passes before a theft case is reported in the village and vowed to clean up the village by apprehending all people with wanting character.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Police urged to beef up security in Wangwachi following cattle theft

 By Susan Ndung’u

Over 100 residents of Karungubii area in Wangwachi location have petitioned the government to beef up security following a spate of robberies in the remote village of Sipili division in Laikipia west district.

The residents say they have been attacked twice in less than two weeks by thugs who stole three cows from two homesteads.

In the first incident, they told Laikipia Rural Voices, that the robbers raided the home of Peter Gicharu at night and stole his cow.

“Mr. Gichuru and his family was shocked to find one of his cows missing one morning and wondered how the thugs sneaked into their compound unnoticed,” said a villager from Wangwachi.

They said even after reporting the matter to police at Sipili post, no action was taken. A few days latter the robbers struck again stealing two cows in the same village.

Joyce Muringi, the owner of the cattle also reported the case to the police but still no action was taken.

“My question is, where shall we get help from? And for how long shall we live in a state of fear? Does it mean that farmers from Wangwachi will not rear keep livestock?” posed an angry resident.

The residents are now calling upon police and the provincial administration to ensure proper security measures to protect them from the robbers.

Civic leader demands audit of council funds

 By  K. Charles

The news of dire sanitary situations in Sipili township, was first picked and published by Laikipia Rural Voices; a web blog run by community journalist in the area.

That followed the closure of the only public toilet in Sipili by the public health officer. The news was read far and wide, on the internet and in the social media.

Following the news coverage and public outrage, the area Councillor Mr. Bernard Ndung'u, has written to the local government minister Musalia Mudavadi calling for an audit of the Laikipia county council funds.

The community reporters are working very closely with the public, to highlight issues relevant to the local development progress and would not keep quiet when things are not going in the right direction.

 The social media is playing a critical role in promoting healthy debates and dialogue as people chart the way forward in matters of public affairs.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Livestock census set to kick off in Sipili

By David Kiarie

Livestock officers in Sipili division are planning to carry out a livestock census exercise for the next one month to help keep a record of all domestic animals in the area.

According to Sipili divisional livestock extension officer Peter Mukono, the exercise which will kick off in a few days time is meant to update the existing records of animals in the region to help them serve and farmers better.

“We want to know the potential of all animals in this region including pets like dogs and cats because this will help us know the farmers’ needs and assist us in prioritizing our work,” Mukono told Laikipia Rural voices.

He said the exercise would give the real picture indicating the areas with more animals than others and establish the reasons behind this.

The livestock officer said the current record of animals was compiled several years ago before Sipili was curved from Ngarua division.

“Our interest is to increase production of the various animals which include cattle, goats, sheep, rabbits, pigs, poultry and donkeys among others and so we shall endavour to protect them from diseases through training on disease  control, feeding and much more,” Mukono said.

Meanwhile, the department of livestock will be offering advisory services to farmers once a month in order to equip them with required information relating to animal farming

The services will be offered for a whole day at Kahuruko trading centre and at Sipili divisional headquarters. Farmers are urged to take advantage of the session in order to have their questions answered by livestock experts.

Agriculture ministry supplies fruit seedlings ahead of March/April rains

By David Kiarie

Farmers in Sipili division who intend to plant fruits in the coming rainy season have been asked to register with the ministry of agriculture.

The divisional home economics officer Elcy Kigano said the ministry would be supplying mangoes, citrus and avocado seedlings between January and April so that farmers can plant them during the coming long rains expected in March and April.

Kigano said each seedling will be sold at Ksh 100 and urged the farmers to seek the assistance of agricultural extension officers to help them in getting the required measurements.

She said the recommended spacing for mango trees is eight by eight metres from line to line while that of citrus is supposed to be five by five metres.

The spacing she said could also vary with that of mango trees being allowed to go upto nine by nine metres and six by six metres for citrus. The seedlings are supplied annually or biannually during planting seasons.

Kigano further advised farmers to prepare their land and dig holes at least a month earlier to ensure healthy trees.  

Welfare group marks 32 year of existence

By Bett Kipsang and David Kiarie

There was pomp and colour as a community welfare group from Sipili over marked 30 years of existence and services.

Members of Karungubii- Kiriko welfare group slaughtered a bull, which they feasted on to celebrate their success of over three decades.

According to a founder member Margaret Mwangi, who is also the group vice Chairman, the group started as a women only group in 1979 with it 11 followers.

Mwangi said members were contributing 50 cents each to buy household items like utensils and supporting one another during events like weddings, births and deaths.

Men then joined the group latter in1985 after realizing the potential the organization had .The membership of the group has since grown to 168 currently with registration being done per household.
 The welfare group is is well organized and the group has been keeping records in a ledger book bought back in 1982 for Ksh 8.

Members contribute Ksh 150 up from 50 cents, Ksh 2, 3,5 and 20, which they used to contribute in the 90s. The contribution is made whenever a member or his/her child is graduating with a university degree, whenever a young couple is wedding and incase of a death in the family a member. A total of Ksh 21,500 is given to the family in need.

“We want to encourage our children to take education seriously and pursue degree courses and we also want them to do weddings while they are still fresh from their parents home and not after staying together for sometime. That is why we contribute money as an incentive to encourage our youths,” said the group secretary Joseph Mwati.

When we visited the group that was hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mwangi at Karungubii, more than 150 members were celebrating with songs, dance and thanksgiving prayers.

The group members then contributed more than four bags of maize which they donated to Sipili school for the deaf as a way of helping the needy people in the society.

 The group chairman Harrison Ngugi told Laikipia Rural Voices that the secret of their success is the high level of discipline they have managed to maintain where members adherence to set rules and guidelines.

 ‘‘We have seen groups come and go, but we have remained strong and united because all our members follow the group rules,’’ Ngugi said adding that for the past thirty years no member has flouted rules to warrant any disciplinary action.

The magic of naming places

By Wa Joe

Have you ever thought how places got their names?
It was until yesterday when I was curious to know how the various places got their names.

I talked to a reliable source, an elderly woman Mrs. Mariam Wanjiku Macharia from Kongoni village in Ndindika sub location, Kinamba location.

She told me of a village called Mihehu, Kikuyu for whispers. In the mid 1970’s, residents of their village used to brew illegal liquor known as busaa. It was illegal to brew or consume busaa and so the drinkers locked themselves in a house while conversing in whispers (mihehu)

A village like Karungubii in Sipili area means dark alleys in Kikuyu language and was used by residents to hide when consuming illegal brews during the colonial era.

Wanjiku did not stop at that, she also narrated about Gatirima area on your way to Nyuhururu from Kinamba. She told me that the white settler who inhabited the area had weak legs and hence the name Gatirima.

Take for instance Mwenje village in Kinamba location. The mzungu or white settler who inhabited the area in 1950’s had a bald head and residents referred to him as Mwenje which means one with a shaven head.

Dairy farmers from Muhotetu call for unity in a bid to fight cartels

By Waweru Kanja

Dairy farmers in Muhotetu division of Laikipia West District have been called upon to unite in order to have a voice in the market of their produce.

Speaking at Muhotetu township recently during a dairy farmers meeting, the farmers decried the diminishing prices of milk citing exploitation by milk processors.

Mr. Njoroge Maina, a dairy farmer from Chereta said that farmers were getting meager returns due to the increased cost of production.

“To produce one litre of milk, it costs me ksh. 22 and the milk processors are buying the litre at ksh. 23. This business is not viable” Maina said.

The farmers said all the milk processors have formed a cartel that was dictating prices to them leaving them helpless and exploited for lack of alternative market.

“A litre of fresh milk is going for ksh. 60 at the supermarket which is more than double the price the processors are buying from us” Another farmer Rose Chepkeboi said.

The over 700 farmers agreed to unite and register a cooperative society in order to articulate their needs effectively.

They said the society will give them a voice in the marketing of their produce and minimize cases of exploitation.

The farmers are now appealing to the government, financial institutions and the non-governmental organizations to help them in putting up cottage industries in order to add value to their milk.

They said one packet of 200 mililitres of yoghurt will fetch ksh. 10 more in profit and will uplift their economic standards.