''Why didn't you prevent this?'' is a question Kenyans may start asking legislators soon, concerning a report about the government's purchase of luxury vehicles in 2003 and 2004. Entitled Living Large: Counting the Cost of Official Extravagance in Kenya, the 23-page document was issued last week by the local chapter of Transparency International.
As the chances of finding more survivors in the building that collapsed earlier this week in Nairobi moved from slim to remote, poor oversight and corruption were being blamed for the disaster. Concrete used for the collapsed building, still under construction at the time that it went down, had apparently not been allowed to set properly.
An alleged ex-convict known only as ''Maranda'' may have been responsible for the rape of five-year-old Peris Akoth at the beginning of this year, in Kenya. Then again, he may not. However, the case has already become a rallying point for anti-rape campaigners who claim that abuses such as these would be less likely to occur if Kenya had adequate legislation on the books.
Micro-credit facilities for men could emerge as a powerful tool to check the alarming increase in cases of violence against women in Kenya. Experts say that with easy access to small loans for income generating activities, men would have less time on their hands to be abusive.
<img src="http://www.mg.co.za/ContentImages/257998/special_rep_icon_template.jpg" align=left>With only a quarter of Kenyans who need anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) receiving them from the government, the race is on to ensure that many more people get treatment to fend off Aids-related diseases. But ARV recipients also need enough, good food, without which ARVs cannot work properly.
The power of microcredit to pull people out of destitution has been celebrated around the world during 2005, designated the ''International Year of Microcredit'' by the United Nations. In Kenya, however, the concept of microcredit risks losing its bloom.
Frail Musyimi Mbiti lies on a bed that is almost bare, in Mwingi District hospital. His little arms are tied to the bed rail with a dirty piece of cloth as a precautionary measure, failing which he would probably start gnawing on himself. This is the face of a famine that is eating its way through several parts of Kenya.
Dubbed the ''babies in bags'' scandal, the discovery of 15 foetuses last year near a river in Nairobi horrified Kenya -- and drew government assurances that illegal abortions would be brought to a halt. A pregnancy can only be terminated in the East African country if it puts a woman's life in danger.
Since gaining independence in 1963, Kenya has held four elections. But, perhaps the most decisive ballot of all has been cast by citizens who voted with their feet -- leaving Kenya for countries that seemed more promising. Concerns about corruption, economic decline and insecurity have prompted an exodus of professionals.
Civil society groups in Kenya have set their sights on an upcoming referendum in a bid to prevent the government from pushing through an altered version of the country's draft Constitution. This comes after Parliament approved the amended draft at midnight last Thursday, by a vote of 102 to 61.
"I did not like doing this but the women would come to me crying, some saying that they already had ten children or more, and that they could not care for additional children," says Mariam, an abortion practitioner in Kenya. "One even threatened that if I refused, she would hang herself in my hut." Mariam's story highlights the shortcomings of reproductive health care in refugee camps.
Calls for debt relief to be awarded to African countries have become de rigueur in non-governmental circles and a good many news publications. But does the matter crop up during dinner conversations across the continent? Is it sufficiently important to crowd out sports talk among people riding minibus taxis on their way to work?