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Thursday, August 25, 2016


National power distributor KPLC will pilot the use of gas-filled transformers in place of the conventional oil insulated ones in a bid to cut losses occasioned by vandalism.

The utility suffers millions of dollars in losses annually owing to vandalism who seek to drain transformer oil for sale.

This leaves the transformers without insulation causing them to blow whenever it rains.

In an MoU with Toshiba Transmission and Distribution India, a 100% owned subsidiary of Toshiba Energy of Japan, KPLC will pilot three technologies that if successful will see it adopt the technology for its nationwide network.

Dr. Katsutoshi Toda, the MD of TTDI said the new Gas Insulated Transformers were capable of replacing the entire stock of conventional transformers on the Kenya Power grid.

These transformers are however about 1.5 times more expensive than conventional transformers because they are yet to go into mass production.

However, they will be roughly the same size but slightly lighter as they will be filled with carbon dioxide gas instead of transformer oil.

TTDI is currently supplying KPLC with 12,000 conventional transformers. This is after KPLC last year decided to stop dealing with traders and brokers for critical equipment and opted for original equipment manufacturers who can provide 5-year warranties for their equipment.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


As GOTV turns five years old in Kenya, it has now reached 56% of digital terrestrial TV subscribers, with rival Startimes coming in at 40% while Bamba and Azam trail far behind at about 1.5% each.

Latest figures indicate GOTV had 1,730,279 subscribers by the end of June 2016 while Startimes was at 1,268,419 users.

With Azam TV and Bamba/KTN, the number of formerly analogue TV viewers who have digitally migrated to DTT decoders has now surpassed 3million users country wide.

A good number are also on Satellite provider DStv, and cable TV Zuku.

GOTV used both its early mover advantage but also better pricing and content leveraged on its parent Multichoice's 20 year experience in the country to establish market leadership.

The fast growth in digital TV users vindicates the Communication Authority of Kenya's tough stance against local broadcasters who sought to frustrate the digital migration process.

Kenya is now one of the few African countries that have been able to fully migrate to DTT.

GOTV will tomorrow celebrate its five years of existence since 2011.

This is the current comparison of the market players pricing:

Lite: 160 per month, 375 per quarter, 840 per year
Value: 470
Plus: 920

Pay TV: 1800
Free to air: 4399
Nyota: 199
Bas ic: 499
Classic: 999
Unique: 1499
3800 for decoder
Azam Play: 870 pm
Azam Plus: 500 pm
Indian bouquet: 800 pm
Azam Pure: 200 per month


Tuesday, August 2, 2016


GOTV the market leader in TV subscriptions in the country, has announced price cuts for its various bouquets with the lowest package,

The move comes as the Rio Olympics kick off on August 5th. GOTV and DStv will be carrying the games.

Zuku and Startimes won't have coverage of the Olympics owing to lack of TV broadcast rights.

GOTV Lite is now going for Sh160 (US$1.58) for access to 16 channels including Supersport Blitz.

Subscribers can pay Sh840 ($8.29) for a full-year subscription.

GOTV Value package also drops in price from Sh650 to Sh470 per month.

The premium package GOTV Plus remains at Sh920 a month and will feature three additional Supersport Channels, 5,7 and 12 dedicated to covering the Rio Olympics.

Supersport 12 will be a 24-hour Olympics news channel produced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The GOTV decoder and antenna will now retail for Sh2999 down from Sh3999.

Olympic coverage begins on August 5 while the new bouquet prices take effect from August 20.

The Lite package is the cheapest in the market as GOTV which has more than 50 per cent of all TV subscriptions in the country, looks to extend it market share,

Also in the market is Bamba TV which recently was bought by KTN ( Kenya Television Network), Azam, Citizen ADN among others.

Zuku and DStv are currently renegotiating their licenses with the regulator, Communications Authority of Kenya while some new entrants will be expected.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


SuperSport will dedicate seven of its channels on DStv to 24 hours Rio Olympics coverage with another three on GOTV showing the games, Multichoice Africa has announced.

Kenyan reporter James Wokabi, will be a roving reporter for Supersport in Rio accompanying Carol Tshabalala and Rui de Oliveira who will do the Portuguese coverage.

Because Kenya is six hours ahead of Brazil, DStv will archive a lot of the action in its Catch Up service as well for viewers to recap the action as it happened.

Supersport has the widest global coverage of sports and this time it will be covering the Olympics on more channels than any other outlet except Sky Sports.

BBC  is carrying the games on just three channels while ESPN is doing about 12-15 hours a day as network  NBC carries the bulk of prime time coverage for the US market.

Supersport 4, 5, 6 and 7 as well as Supersport 11, 12, 13 will be dedicated to the Olympics

Overflow content like Sevens rugby, soccer and golf, will be carried on Supersport 1 and 3.

Kenya has sent its Rugby sevens team to the games in addition to the track and field athletes.

Monday, July 25, 2016


An acre of land in Upper Hill is going for Sh517million (US$51.7m), data from property manager Hass Consult indicates.

The rapidly growing financial district leads the list of most expensive real estate in Nairobi. Kilimani at Sh430m ($43m) comes in second as it continues to see an upsurge of apartment complexes and commercial developments.

Parklands at Sh402m ($40m) an acre is the third most expensive location with Westlands at Sh398m closely behind.

Rounding off the top 10 are:

Cost (KES)
Upper Hill
Spring Valley

Of Satellite towns around Nairobi, Ruaka is the most expensive at Sh68m an acre followed by Kiambu at Sh38/acre and Mlolongo at Sh23m/acre.

This is Hass's second report on the Land sector this year.

The UAP Tower in Upper Hill

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Six distinguished officers of the court have been shortlisted by the Judiciary Service Commission to interview for the position of Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court. We profile them here...

Smokin Wanjala, 56, was born in Machakos  in 1960 and is a judge of the Supreme Court. Appointed in 2011, he was part of the seven judge bench that heard the presidential election petition of 2013. He was seen as a close confidant of retired Chief Justice Willy Mutunga. A scholar who has over 15 years teaching experience at the University of Nairobi Law School, Dr. Wanjala has in the past served as a director at the defunct Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission where he served under rtd. Justice Aaron Ringera and was in charge of research. He is one of four remaining judges on the Supreme Court bench following the retirement of CJ Mutunga, DCJ Rawal and Justice Tunoi. He holds a Ph. D from the University of Ghent, Belgium, a Masters degree in Law from Columbia University and an LL. B from University of Nairobi.

Nzamba Kitonga was born in 1956 and is aged, 60 years. This would make him CJ for a full term of 10 years. A past chairman of the Law Society of Kenya (elected in 1997), he has also served as the Judge President of the COMESA court. He is best remembered as the chairman of the Committee of Experts that steered the process of delivering the Constitution of Kenya 2010. He previously served as a Commissioner on the Goldenberg Commission chaired by (rtd) Justice SEO Bosire. He is a past chairman of the East African Law Society and a past recipient of the Jurist of the Year award from the International Commission of Jurists (2010).

Justice Mbogoli Msagha was born in 1953 (aged 63) in the then Coast province of Kenya. He is the Principal Judge of the High Court of Kenya. Appointed judge at the young age of 34 years in 1987, he has served on the bench for close to 30 years. He has presided over landmark cases such as the Mwai Kibaki petition against the election of President Moi in 1997 and the suit challenging the laying off of 1800 workers from Kenya Airways in 1990. He has sometimes in the past been accused of avoiding making hard decisions when issuing rulings and judgements.

Justice Alnashir Visram who is in his mid-sixties sits in the Court of Appeal. He is famously remembered as having been appointed to be the next Chief Justice to replace the retiring Evans Gicheru in 2011 by President Mwai Kibaki. But the ensuing uproar raised by coalition partner Raila Odinga over the manner of the appointment led to the withdrawal of this appointment and the JSC was tasked to vet candidates for the post. Willy Mutunga emerged the choice candidate and became the CJ. Visram is an Ismaili Muslim who has served as the CEO of the Aga Khan Fund in Kenya and as High Court judge for many years having been appointed to the bench in 2001.
Interviewing for the post of CJ for a second time, Visram is likely to face the same problems he faced last time when he failed to explain decisions and rulings he made in past political cases.

Justice Roselyn Nambuye, 64, is a judge of the Court of Appeal. The resilient Justice who has twice fought forced retirement, first by the Ringera Commission’s so-called radical surgery in 2003 and secondly by the Sharad Rao vetting board in 2012 is seeking a Supreme Court seat for the second time. She became the third woman in the country appointed judge of the High Court in 1991. She is married to rtd Justice Daniel Aganyanya who served on the Court of Appeal. In 2011 she was appointed to the Court of Appeal after she unsuccessfully applied for the position of Deputy Chief Justice. In a race against Martha Koome, Mary Kasango, Hannah Okwengu, Mary Ang’awa and Joseph Nyamu, all justices, and lawyers Nancy Baraza and Gladys Shollei, she lost out to Nancy Baraza. Justice Nambuye has spoken frankly about how her inability to have children led to the breakdown of her first marriage and how she and her second husband have raised numerous step children and adopted many orphans whom they have educated and nurtured. A crusader for gender inclusivity in the judiciary, she delights at more women being appointed to the bench.

Justice David Kenani Maraga, 64,  is the Presiding Judge of the Court of Appeal in Kisumu. He was appointed to the High Court in October2003 and to the Court of Appeal in 2011. A holder of both an LL.B and an LL.M from the University of Nairobi, he also chairs the Judiciary Committee on Elections tasked with overseeing election petition hearings that may arise after the 2017 elections within the prescribed period in the constitution. He successfully underwent the vetting board fending off accusations of tribalism and bribery seeking and was unanimously endorsed to continue to serve in 2012. An avowed Seventh Day Adventist, he startled the board proceedings when he invoked God’s name loudly and went on to swear that he had never taken a bribe in his life.


This is the second time the position of Chief Justice is being contested through a vetting process. In 2011, the candidates who sought to make the inaugural Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court included.
1.       Willy Mutunga
2.       International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Judge Lee Muthoga
3.       Justice Alnashir Visram JJA (Court of Appeal)
4.       Justice Joseph Nyamu JJA
5.       Justice Riaga (RSC) Omollo JJA
6.       Justice Samuel (SEO) Bosire JJA
7.       Justice Paul Kihara J (High Court)
8.       Justice Msagha Mbogoli
9.       Justice Mary Ang’awa

10.   Justice Kalpana Rawal

CJ Mutunga is now retired as is Kalpana Rawal who was later to become Deputy Chief Justice and only left the bench after a bitter judicial fight ended at the Supreme Court. Visram is a candidate once again. 
Justices Joseph Nyamu, Riaga Omollo, Samuel Bosire and Mary Ang'awa were found unfit to serve by the Sharad Rao led vetting committee of the judiciary and have since exited. Justice Kihara is now the President of the Court of Appeal.

Monday, July 11, 2016


Listed telco Safaricom is said to have piloted its LIPA NA MPESA (PAY WITH MPESA) card with it staff as it prepares to launch it to the public.

The card is to be used at merchants for purchase of goods and services and will have its own Point of Sale System, the machines used to swipe popular payments cards.

This is likely to launch an intense battle for the local payment market which has recently seen fast rising uptake of Visa card services particularly at petrol stations and bars and eateries.

However, the move by Safaricom to introduce this card, which it has previously sought to bring to the market, is seen by some as being more of a reaction to plans by local banks to introduce a interbank switch allowing cash transfers within the banking system without going through MPESA.

However, that threat was significantly hobbled when the two largest banks in Kenya, KCB and Equity Groups, instituted demands before signing onto the switch including the fact that the switch would not allow merchant banking.

This means it cannot be used for payment of goods and services like MPESA.