Kenya

  1. Dubai-bound Kenyans arrested with fake Covid-19 papers

    Kenya airport officials on Thursday arrested 21 travellers who were headed to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), using faked certificates declaring them free of Covid-19.

    The arrests were made during an operation at the main airport in the capital, Nairobi.

    Earlier this week the UAE decided to stop giving visas to citizens of 13 countries, including Kenya, Somalia, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria.

    Local media report that the ban was imposed after travellers from Kenya were found with fake certificates upon arrival in the Gulf state.

    Kenya has recorded 80,102 confirmed coronavirus cases including 1,427 deaths. On Thursday it tightened restrictions on public gatherings.

  2. Wedding parties to shrink under Kenya lockdown rules

    Wedding guests observe social distancing
    Image caption: Food will only be served to members of the nuclear family

    The number of guests allowed to attend weddings in Kenya has been reduced to 50 because of rising coronavirus cases.

    Kenya's Inter-Faith Council said food at weddings will only be served to the parents and siblings of the marrying couple.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta had in August increased the number of guests allowed in weddings to 100 as he eased restrictions, but stricter new guidelines were announced on Thursday.

    Funerals are also subject to new restrictions - no more than 100 guests are permitted to attend, food is banned, and ceremonies may not last longer than an hour.

    Church services in Kenya are now limited to a maximum of 90 minutes.

    The inter-faith council's chairman, Anthony Muheria, was last week treated for coronavirus at a hospital in the capital, Nairobi.

  3. Eighty final-year Kenyan students storm out of school

    A group of final-year students stormed out of their secondary school in eastern Kenya on Wednesday night, saying they were tired of studying.

    Some 80 students left the Matungulu Boys Secondary School compound, leaving only 36 behind, according to The Standard newspaper.

    The school principal said the students had discipline issues that were being dealt with.

    Some of the students told local radio stations that the principal was too strict and they were tired of studying. They said they would prefer to come back just to sit for final examinations scheduled for next year.

    The principal said parents had been informed and asked to bring back the students.

    Schools reopened in October for final-year students after being closed because of coronavirus, while other classes will resume in January.

    The ministry of education advised administrators to minimise interaction between students in boarding schools and people outside to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

    Some schools have reported coronavirus cases since reopening.

  4. Shock as Kenyan man 'comes back to life' in morgue

    A critically ill Kenyan man, who collapsed in his house and was rushed to hospital, shocked morgue attendants after he regained consciousness as they prepared to embalm him.

    Peter Kigen, 32, was presumed dead on Tuesday by staff at Kapkatet hospital, in Kericho county, and transferred to the morgue, according to local media.

    His younger brother who took Mr Kigen to hospital is quoted by the Standard newspaper as saying that a nurse had told him the patient had died before they arrived at the casualty department.

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    But the hospital's superintendent, Gilbert Cheruiyot, told journalists that the patient's relatives had not waited for a certification of death and had moved him to the morgue on their own.

    The patient, reported to suffer a chronic illness, told journalists he was "happy to be alive and vowed to dedicate his life to evangelism".

    Local channel Citizen TV shared a video of the patient's Swahili address to journalists:

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  5. Two million Kenyans fall into poverty

    Charles Gitonga

    BBC News

    Woman walks past a mural
    Image caption: Kenya's economy has been in decline after the coronavirus pandemic hit

    Two million Kenyans fell below the poverty line between March and June this year, according to a World Bank report.

    The rate of unemployment in East Africa’s largest economy increased from 5% cent to 21% within the period.

    This increased the number of people living below $1.90 ($1.42) per day by 4% to two million.

    Factory workers and those working in tourism and agriculture were especially affected.

    Kenya's tax revenues have reduced but their debt servicing requirements have increased.

    Kenya’s debt stands at 65.6% of the gross domestic product and the national treasury is in the process of seeking another $2.3bn from the International Monetary Fund to help fund the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

  6. Kenya's president explains why he quit Twitter

    Uhuru Kenyatta

    Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has said he closed his personal Twitter account because of insults.

    Mr Kenyatta on Wednesday said he would get angered by the insults on Twitter and couldn't sleep.

    "I would rather talk to my wife and sleep and wake up in the morning to work," he said in Swahili.

    The head of state's personal twitter account had more than three million followers but it was deactivated and his administration now uses a State House account, which has around one million followers.

    The communication team did not at the time reveal the reason for deactivating the president's account.

    Kenyans on Twitter are known for expressing themselves on the platform often leading to online fights with tweeters from other countries.

  7. Ethiopian troops 'stage cross-border raid into Kenya'

    Emmanuel Igunza

    BBC News, Nairobi

    Reports from northern Kenya say Ethiopian troops have staged a cross-border raid into the town of Moyale, hunting for supporters of a rebel group.

    Witnesses said neighbourhoods were ransacked and 10 Kenyans dragged away, accused of sheltering members of a splinter group of the Oromo Liberation Front.

    OLF Shane group, which has been blamed for a series of attacks and killings in western and southern Ethiopia.

    Residents allege Kenyan security officers looked on, as the young men were dragged away across the border.

    Neither the Kenyan nor the Ethiopian government have made any comments on this alleged incursion into Kenyan territory.

    The Ethiopian military is currently conducting an operation against members of the group in Southern and Western Ethiopia. Heavy fighting has been heard in areas bordering Kenya over the last few weeks.

    Early this month, armed men from the OLF Shane group killed 60 people and torched more than 20 houses in a raid in western Ethiopia.

    The OLF Shane split from the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a once exiled opposition group, that was allowed back to Ethiopia after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took power in 2018.

  8. Kenyan wardens save zebra with rare skin cancer

    Wildlife vets in Kenya's Nairobi National Park have removed a facial growth on a zebra that was found to be a rare type of skin cancer.

    The condition, called squamous cell carcinoma, had formed a crust under the zebra's left ear.

    It was removed by surgical excision, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), and the zebra is expected to make a complete recovery.

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  9. Panic after Kenyan man dies on board minibus taxi

    People on a public vehicle in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, panicked after a fellow passenger died on board.

    The passengers and the crew only realised the man was dead when he remained unresponsive after being asked to give way to a person who was getting off.

    Ministry of health officials were called to the scene after police declined to transport the body citing a possible Covid-19 infection.

    The officials fumigated the vehicle while the body was still inside and later took it away in a body bag.

    Kenya's NTV channel shared a blurred video of the incident:

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  10. Kenyan nurses issue strike notice over lack of PPE

    Rhoda Odhiambo

    BBC News, Nairobi

    Medical staff dressed in protective suits inside the Covid-19 ICU
    Image caption: They say 18 colleagues have died after treating coronavirus

    Kenyan nurses have issued a 14-day strike notice to the government, citing the lack of a safe working environment.

    Eighteen nurses have died from Covid-19 after treating patients with the virus, the nurses' union Secretary General Seth Panyako said.

    He added that once the strike notice lapses, the healthcare workers will not return to work unless their issues are addressed.

    They also want the government to declare Covid-19 an occupational hazard and to be provided with comprehensive medical cover.

    The notice comes a week after doctors issued a strike notice over the same issues.

    There are now more than 70,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Kenya and more than 1,000 deaths have been reported.

    More than 30 healthcare workers have died after contracting the virus since the country confirmed its first case in March.

  11. Three charged after BBC baby-stealing exposé in Kenya

    Three people have been charged in Kenya following a BBC exposé on child trafficking at the state-run Mama Lucy hospital in the capital Nairobi, the office of the director of public prosecutions has tweeted.

    The three - who include a senior medical official in Nairobi, Musa Mohammed, and two social workers - pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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    Prosecutors opposed their request to be released on bail but if the court granted them bail they should be barred from entering the hospital and interacting with witnesses, the office of the director of public prosecutions.

    The court is expected to deliver its ruling on 25 November.

  12. Kenya arrests in child pornography investigation

    Ferdinand Omondi

    BBC News, Nairobi

    Four people have been detained in Kenya after being accused of engaging teenage girls in pornography and sex-exploitation.

    A court was told that when police visited a house in an upmarket Nairobi suburb over the weekend, they found more than 40 children involved in pornography and taking drugs in the presence of the four suspects.

    Detectives on Saturday said they were investigating an online cartel which they accused of luring high-school girls from their homes to take part in orgies.

  13. Kenya go-ahead for charges in child-trafficking case

    Ferdinand Omondi

    BBC News, Nairobi

    Video content

    Video caption: A BBC investigation led to the charges

    A court in Kenya has allowed the public prosecutor to press charges against a senior medical official and two social workers following an investigation into alleged child trafficking.

    The three were among the seven people arrested last week, after a BBC investigation showed evidence of child trafficking rings, which included babies stolen from homeless mothers and sold on the streets.

    It also showed new-borns offered for sale in illegal private clinics and at a government hospital.

    The court however released the head of the state-run Mama Lucy Hospital and an administrator, after the public prosecutor said there was no evidence linking them to the crime.

    Police released the other two after questioning.

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  14. Kenyan university beats Oxford in law competition

    Martin Kioko Munyoto (left) and Sidney Tambasi Netya (right)
    Image caption: Martin Kioko Munyoto (L) and Sidney Tambasi Netya (R) led Kenyatta University to victory

    Kenya's Kenyatta University has beaten the UK's Oxford University in the semi-finals of a competition for aspiring lawyers.

    Oxford - one of the most prestigious universities in the world - were the defending champions in the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition.

    It sees students being given a hypothetical human rights case to argue, with teams from around the world participating in the annual event. It was held virtually this year.

    Kenyatta University was represented by third-year and second-year students Sidney Tambasi Netya and Martin Kioko Munyoto respectively, who are both studying law.

    “We went into this competition with the determination to elevate the voice against violation of human rights, and to that extent, we are proud of achieving this level of success,” Mr Netya said.

    At the same time, Kenya's Strathmore University beat Bolivia’s Universidad Catolica, setting the scene for an all-Kenyan final.

    For the first time since 2009, an African team - two from Kenya in this case - has made it to the finals of the competition.

    The four students who will take part in the finals are all below the age of 23.

  15. Missing Kenyan teens rescued after viral video plea

    Peter Mwai

    BBC Nairobi

    Kenyan police have rescued three teenagers among a group of seven girls hours after a video raising alarm about their whereabouts was widely shared on social media.

    Officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations said efforts are ongoing to trace and rescue the other girls.

    They have not however revealed details of where the girls were found and whether there were any suspects arrested.

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    Kenyans online have been asking for help to trace the girls after a relative of one of them made a teary plea fearing they had been kidnapped or trafficked.

    The relative said the girl went missing from the capital, Nairobi, on Saturday after being lured by people who promised them modelling jobs.

    “My cousin along with the 16-year-old girls, six of them, have not been seen since,” the woman in the video says.

    Cases of young girls disappearing some after being promised jobs, have been reported in the media in Kenya recently.

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  16. Kenya's power firm worries about solar energy adoption

    Richard Kagoe

    BBC News, Nairobi

    Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) live line experts prepare to use an articulated lift to relocate power lines
    Image caption: Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) live line experts prepare to use an articulated lift to relocate power lines

    Kenya's main electricity supplier KPLC has sparked a huge talking point across the East African nation not because of the perennial power outages, but because, according to a local newspaper report, the company is blaming the increased adoption of alternative sources of energy such as solar for its financial woes.

    Many homeowners, industries and regional governments are now switching off KPLC because of two reasons: high power bills and irregular supply.

    KPLC has been a trending topic on Twitter with many people questioning how a company that enjoys a monopoly would post a $300m (£225m) loss in the financial year that ended in June.

    The firm recently applied to the energy regulator for an increase in tariffs by up to a fifth to enable it to return to profitability, but the state has halted a review.

    Kenya embarked on an ambitious energy programme in 2013 that saw it invest significantly in thermal and wind energy to supplement hydropower.

    A nationwide electrification initiative seems not to have paid off as uptake remains flat and the Covid-19 pandemic has not made things any better.

    The power distributor finds itself in an awkward position - stuck with idle power and unable to sell, according to the latest figures from the energy regulator.

  17. Kenya's flower exports rise despite Covid-19

    Russell Padmore

    Business correspondent, BBC News

    A worker of the flower farm carries out reserved roses for a client's urgent order to a dump site at the Bliss Flora farm in Nakuru, on March 23, 2020
    Image caption: Kenya is a major exporter of flowers to Europe and Asia

    Kenya's flower exporters are enjoying a good year, despite problems caused by the restrictions imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus.

    The value of exports like cut flowers reached $1.1bn (£845m) between January and October, almost 9% more than the same period last year.

    Kenya's Horticultural Directorate said there was an increase in global demand, despite concerns that the coronavirus pandemic would hit the industry.

    Earlier this year the industry was alarmed at disruption caused by airlines being grounded and so unable to fly flowers as cargo to customers in Europe.

    Business may have picked up recently but the sector is now growing concerned that the second wave of Covid-19 in Europe is creating uncertainty about demand for flower exports in the coming months.

    Alongside exports of tea, horticulture is a major earner of foreign exchange for Kenya, which is the world's fourth biggest exporter of flowers - after the Netherlands, Colombia and Ecuador.