Kenya

  1. Kenya to receive first Covid vaccines next week

    Coronavirus vaccine
    Image caption: Kenya has recorded more than 100,000 coronavirus cases

    Kenya will receive its first batch of Covid-19 vaccines next week, the cabinet has said.

    Frontline health workers, security officers, teachers and vulnerable groups will be vaccinated first.

    The government has not detailed which particular vaccine it is acquiring.

    The health ministry had early this month said it had sequenced the AstraZeneca vaccine and approved it for use in the country.

    Kenya has so far confirmed 105,057 cases of coronavirus, according to data from the health ministry.

  2. Biden discusses Tigray crisis with Kenyan leader

    Ethiopians who fled the conflict in the Tigray region in Hamdayit camp
    Image caption: About two million people have fled their homes because of the conflict

    US President Joe Biden has discussed the crisis in Ethiopia's northern region of Tigray with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in a phone call on Thursday, the White House has said.

    The two leaders discussed the "deteriorating humanitarian and human rights crises" in Tigray, according to the readout of the call.

    They also spoke on the "need to prevent further loss of life and ensure humanitarian access".

    Tigray has been hit by conflict since November between Ethiopian-led troops and forces allied with the region's ousted ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).

    Thousands of people are reported to have been killed, and about two million have fled their homes.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross this week warned that the need for humanitarian aid was "overwhelming".

    The White House said that President Biden emphasised the US’s commitment to working with Kenya, which neighbours Ethiopia to the south, to support regional peace and security.

    More on the Tigray crisis:

  3. Mixed reactions to Kenyan actor chance meet with president

    Social media users in Kenya have been giving mixed reactions to a footage of actor Pascal Tokodi having a chance meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

    In the footage shared on social media by the actor, he is seen slowing down his car and passing greetings to President Kenyatta - who was having a stroll near his official residence in the capital, Nairobi.

    It shows the president unaccompanied by his security detail.

    The actor then "seized the moment" and asked the president to watch a popular television show, Selina, that he co-stars. The president responded to the affirmative.

    View more on twitter

    Some social media commentators are critical of the actor, saying the chance encounter could have been better utilised.

    "You meet the PRESIDENT taking a walk and all you want him to do for you is to watch you on Selina Maisha Magic East? Kenyan youths have their priorities upside down and they want the PRESIDENT to appoint them into Government positions yet he knows they can't even pitch in 10secs," Abraham Mutai tweeted.

    Others said they saw nothing wrong with the actor promoting his show.

    "Pascal tokodi is a lead actor on selina, the show pays his bills, he met the president for less than 10seconds....he asked the president to watch selina and support his hustle, absolutely nothing wrong with that," Chege Githinji wrote.

  4. Kenya bars runners from Tanzania marathon over virus fears

    Athletes at a marathon in Nairobi
    Image caption: Kenyan athletes have dominated previous editions of the race

    Kenya has denied its athletes clearance to compete at the Kilimanjaro Marathon in Tanzania over concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The IAAF-recognised race will be held early Sunday morning at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa.

    Kenyan athletes have dominated previous editions of the race.

    In a statement, Athletics Kenya urged "all athletes not to travel to Tanzania for the event".

    Tanzania has not been sharing data on the coronavirus situation in the country and until recently had been downplaying the pandemic.

    The World Health Organization early this week urged Tanzania to start reporting coronavirus cases and share its data.

    Read more:

  5. Video content

    Video caption: Kenya: A sustainable solution to locust swarms?

    An NGO is training and paying communities in Kenya to catch locusts, so they can be turned into animal feed.

  6. Naomi Campbell 'privileged' by Kenya tourism role

    Naomi Campbell and Kenyan Tourism Minister Najib Balala
    Image caption: Naomi Campbell and Kenyan Tourism Minister Najib Balala sealed the deal last month

    British model Naomi Campbell says she feels "privileged and honoured" after being confirmed as Kenya's international tourism ambassador.

    She was appointed to the ambassadorial role by Magical Kenya last month, but many queried why it had not been given to a prominent Kenyan like Hollywood actress Lupita Nyong'o.

    Tourism Minister Najib Balala defended the decision by saying Ms Campbell had taken up the role pro bono.

    The country is famous for its wildlife safaris and beach resorts.

    The British model has said on Instagram:

    "I am proud to be able to represent such an important country as Kenya.

    "It is my hope that I can play a small part in helping remind the world about Kenya and on a bigger level wouldn’t it be wonderful if Kenya could help inspire the world after this terrible pandemic we have all been through."

    View more on instagram
  7. Endangered giraffes electrocuted in Kenya

    The authorities in Kenya have confirmed reports that two giraffes were electrocuted in a conservancy by low hanging power lines.

    The Rothschild's giraffes died in Soysambu conservancy.

    Rothschild's are one of the most endangered species of giraffes, with only a few hundreds left in the wild.

    The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) was reacting to tweets by conservationist Paula Kahumbu that an endangered species was at risk:

    View more on twitter

    KWS said officials from the state-owned power distributing company, Kenya Power, would replace the poles.

    "Preliminary reports indicate that the height of the electricity poles crossing Soysambu Conservancy are low, below giraffe's height," a statement read in part.

    Ms Kahumbu said the deaths could have been prevented if experts' advise was heeded.

    "These power lines have been killing giraffes, vultures and flamingos. Advice from experts was ignored. RIAs [Risk Impact Assessments] are notoriously poor on many development projects. Sad that it takes these kinds of deaths to wake some people up!" she tweeted.

  8. Video content

    Video caption: Kenya: Butterfly farming to provide income and help conservation

    Butterfly farming along the Kenyan coast is a source of income and a way of conserving the forest.

  9. ‘I was judged for marrying a disabled man’

    Anne Ngugi

    BBC News Swahili

    Susan Njogu Eling and Philip Eling
    Image caption: The couple were engaged six months after they met

    A Kenyan woman who married a disabled Australian man has told the BBC how people called her a gold-digger after photos of their wedding were shared online.

    Susan Njogu Eling said people judged her love for Philip Eling without knowing that she had always worked with disabled people.

    She moved to Australia and enrolled for a diploma in working with the disabled after which she applied for a job at Mr Eling’s workplace.

    Mr Eling asked her out by email after the interview and they exchanged contacts and later went out on their first date.

    “Ours is a story of love at first sight. Nothing about him bothered me, especially because I had related with many disabled people while studying,” she says.

    The couple became engaged exactly six months later. The bride’s parents approved of their marriage plans.

    “They gave me their blessings at once. They were completely alright with our decision, and especially because they knew how passionate I was about helping the disabled. I was ecstatic,” she said.

    Susan Njogu Eling and Philip Eling
    Image caption: Susan and Paul are celebrating three years since their marriage

    The couple married in a red-themed garden wedding in Adelaide and photos were widely shared online, eliciting mixed reactions.

    “People said I only did it because I wanted to get money from him, but I sort of expected that reaction from them. I was very relaxed and prepared for it. I got comfort from knowing that our union was ordained by God,” she said.

    As they celebrate their third wedding anniversary, Mrs Eling describes their marriage so far as fantastic.

    “Phillip takes care of me like any other husband would, and I take care of him too. People always assume that I am the one who takes care of him,” she says.

    Mr Eling was born with muscular dystrophy - a disease that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass.

  10. Africa Daily: Why surrogacy is growing in Kenya

    Alan Kasujja

    BBC Africa Daily

    Pregnant woman holding small shoes and relaxing at home.
    Image caption: In most African countries surrogacy is still such a novel idea

    Having children through surrogacy isn’t simple: the whole process can be expensive and psychologically taxing.

    In fact, in most African countries surrogacy is still such a novel idea, that most of them do not actually have laws in place to deal with these cases.

    Take Kenya, for example: just last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta mentioned that there was a legal void around surrogacy.

    And yet, anecdotal evidence would suggest couples from all across the continent are flocking to Kenya to have their babies born to surrogate mothers there.

    How come?

    “We are light-years ahead of many countries, except South Africa,” says Ayieta Lumbasyo, a bioethicist and surrogacy advocate based in Kenya's capital, Nairobi.

    So, for the mothers and fathers going through this experience, what types of obstacles stand in their way?

    That’s what I’ve been finding out in Wednesday's episode of Africa Daily.

    Subscribe to the show on BBC Sounds or wherever you get your podcasts.

  11. Head of Kenya reform taskforce dies at 80

    Farah Yussuf

    BBC Monitoring

    Tributes are pouring in on social media for veteran Kenyan politician Mohamed Yusuf Haji, who has died in Nairobi at the age of 80.

    Until his death, Mr Haji chaired the government’s Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce, which is working on recommendations on how to end cyclical electoral violence.

    Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga described Mr Haji, who also represented the north-eastern county of Garissa in the senate, as “a dedicated patriot and humble servant”.

    Kenya’s presidency said “the death of Senator Haji was a big blow to the country especially in the BBI constitutional reform process”.

    Mr Haji joined government in 1960 as a district officer (DO) and rose through the ranks to become one of the country’s most powerful regional commissioners.

    He was defence minister when Kenya sent its troops into neighbouring Somalia in 2011 to battle al-Qaeda-affiliated militants.

    The country’s Star newspaper reported that the late politician was “flown in from Turkey on Saturday where he had been since December for treatment”.

    He is the father of Noordin Haji, Kenya’s top prosecutor.

  12. Panic grips Kenya's parliament after MP carries gun

    Kenya's parliament
    Image caption: MPs are required by law to leave their guns with the sergeant-at-arms

    There was a scare on Thursday when a Kenyan member of parliament said colleagues were unsafe during proceedings because one member was armed.

    The MP, Elisha Odhiambo, informed the speaker that he had seen what looked like a gun behind the coat of his colleague, Mohamed Ali.

    Speaker Justin Muturi asked Mr Ali to confirm if he was carrying a gun.

    "My apologies, I forgot to leave my things outside. I am a human being," he said.

    Speaker Muturi asked Mr Ali to confirm if he was carrying a gun.

    "Mr Speaker, allow me to surrender," Mr Ali said as the parliamentary broadcasting unit panned the camera away.

    He was asked to deposit it outside with the sergeant-at-arms as required by law.

    The speaker urged the sergeant to be vigilant and enforce the rules branding it a "terrible oversight".

    Mr Ali lashed out at his colleague for publicising the matter and said it was politically motivated, as both support different parties.

    Another MP Millie Odhiambo said the country was politically volatile and urged more security measures enforced.

    Kenyan legislators have been divided by ongoing calls for proposed constitutional amendments. The president and his deputy are on different sides in the referendum push.

  13. Somalia rejects further Kenya maritime dispute delays

    The Somali government has rejected Kenya's "fourth request" to postpone for the hearing of a maritime case between the two countries at International Court of Justice (ICJ), the information minister says.

    “Justice delayed is justice denied,” Osman Dubbe tweeted, adding that they should all head to The Hague next month "come what may".

    View more on twitter

    The dispute is over the ownership of a 100,000 sq-km triangle in the Indian Ocean thought to be rich in oil and gas reserves.

    Somalia took the case to the ICJ in 2014, asking the global court to determine its maritime boundary with Kenya.

    The case was last postponed in May 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic and the court is set to hear argument from both sides between 15 and 19 March.

  14. More virus cases at British military camp in Kenya

    Ferdinand Omondi

    BBC News, Nairobi

    Military exercise at the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (BATUK)
    Image caption: The camp was reopened last month

    The number of positive Covid-19 cases at a British military training camp in Kenya has risen to 11 from 4, amid concerns from locals about its spread.

    The British army says all soldiers who arrived at Nanyuki base last month were still in isolation.

    An army spokesman says 320 military staff since been placed in quarantine.

    A Kenyan employee at the Nanyuki base told the BBC they were informed to remain at home over the weekend following the confirmation of several cases in the base.

    He also said that Kenyan staff had not been close to the new arrivals from the UK, but that some local staff had been temporarily hired to work at the base in the meantime.

    The army says all operations at the camp follow strict Covid safety measures.

    The main concern from the workers is the possible stigma from locals in the area, north of Nairobi, who they say are now eyeing them suspiciously after the announced outbreak.

    Last year the British Army camp shut down for over three months following the worldwide outbreak, and only reopened last month.

    Employees have been assured they will get their pay.

  15. Is Kenya bringing caning back to schools?

    Alan Kasujja

    BBC Africa Daily

    A classroom in Nairobi, Kenya
    Image caption: Kenya banned corporal punishment in schools in 2001

    It’s time for some discipline - or, at least, that’s what the Kenyan government thinks.

    The education minister has openly called for corporal punishment to be reintroduced in schools across the country.

    He says discipline (and perhaps a little caning) is the only way to deal with unruly students – who, in recent weeks, have burnt down their dormitories and attacked their teachers.

    Teachers’ unions are up in arms and say they won’t accept the return to such archaic practices.

    So, is physical punishment really coming back to Kenyan schools?

    Find out on today’s edition of the Africa Daily podcast.

    Subscribe to the show on BBC Sounds or wherever you get your podcasts.

  16. When Art Meets Power - Kenya

    Video content

    Video caption: Afua Hirsch explores the epic story of Kenya through the country’s art, music and writing.

    Afua Hirsch tells the epic story of Kenya, exploring how artists, musicians and writers have responded to the country's colonial past and asserted a new identity through art.

  17. Virus lockdown at British military base in Kenya

    A British military base in Kenya has been been placed under "enhanced isolation" after a "small number of cases" of Covid-19 were discovered among British troops.

    The infected soldiers are in isolation units that are spread throughout Nyati Barracks in Nanyuki town, including some in tents, and are undergoing regular checks, a British High Commission spokesperson said in a statement.

    The spokesperson said that "all soldiers deploying on exercise had to conduct a period of isolation and test negative prior to travelling to Kenya".

    "High transit areas, including dining facilities are being deep-cleaned and soldiers will be fed on rations in the meantime," the statement said.

    Most of the Kenyan staff working at the camp have been told to work from home.

    The Nyati Barracks were re-opened last month by UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

    View more on twitter

    The British Army Training Unit Kenya (Batuk) provides "demanding training to exercising units preparing to deploy on operations or assume high-readiness tasks", according to the British Army website.