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A Very Kavonokya Way of Life

Kavonokya is a Christian sect that is widely spread in Kitui and Tharaka-Nithi counties. Majority of its followers are in Mwingi East around Mũtwangombe and parts of Tseikuru in Mwingi North.  Just like other Christians, this sect is centred around worshiping the God of Abraham, a Hebrew patriarch and the Father of Faith. The sect has its headquarters at Ĩrũndinĩ, Tharaka-Nithi County.
Members of the Kavonokya sect praying./FILE 

Until his death in September 2020, Gitonga M’Mupunguru was their leader.  The believers hold their prayers in some identified homesteads which are characterized by beating of the traditional drums while performing synchronized jumping and stomping of feet. Some men are known to jump as high as the Maasai Moran which is referred to as Kyũngũlũ.

Preachers are always men but there is no requirement to have prior ordination. So long as God has spoken to you the word, you are good to go. It is very rare to see a physical building or structure like a church built for the purpose of worshipping. 

GREETINGS 
To a non-member just a simple Hi is enough. However, when the brethren meet, they shake their hands for a period of between two to thirty minutes uttering words like Alleluia Amen Amen…some sort of testimonies and proclaiming the faith.

Sometimes this act not only hypnotizing to humans but also livestock. A friend once claimed that she found a group of believers greeting one another on the road so enthusiastically such that it made donkey she was walking along with to bray. 

DRESS CODE 
Kavonokya women are the most conspicuous in every crowd. They cover the hair and ears with a head scarf and entomb themselves in long pleated dresses reaching the ankle. In some places women and girls are not supposed to trim their hair. It is also an abomination for a non-believer to touch the head or the scarf of a sister-in-Christ. Women are supposed to be very obedient and they should only wait to be directed.

This dress code is believed to prevent seduction and tempting of the brothers-in-Christ.

HOLY MATRIMONY 
 When it comes to marriage, courtship is not entertained within the members. They believe that marriages are made in Heaven, and pairing must be left to God. God is supposed to speak through an elder to determine the bride and groom from within the flock. This is borrowed from the teachings on how Abraham send his lead servant to look for his son’s wife from the people who were not adulterous like Canaanites. That is how Isaac ended up marrying his cousin Rebekah.

Abraham had assured the servant that the Lord would send the Angel to guide him through the selection process. That notwithstanding, it is very easy for a malicious elder to purport to be speaking for God while advancing private agendum. 

Many church elders end up marrying very beautiful sisters-in-Christ while the youthful boy children sometimes are paired with those who have overstayed in the market for some reasons. 

It is very common for youths to backslide, go get married and lead an earthly life until the Holy Spirit speaks to them about going back to the altar.

THE CONTROVERSY 
Their strong faith in the Word of God does not allow them to seek medical services from human doctors or their hospitals. They believe the prayers are solution to every sickness. In case one dies, it is always termed as the Will of God who gave them the fallen soldier, it was His Will to take him/her back. 

Things to do with vaccinations is a no-go- zone. From children to adults, whether you are being vaccinated against measles or COVID-19, you better do it in private.

I remember most of my Kavonokya age-mates never used to have that vaccine scar on their left arm, evidence that they never got the jab during their childhood. For expectant mothers, you have to be ready to “work from home” when your turn comes. Just pray an experienced midwife from your flock will show up to guide you throughout the child delivery process.

Kavonokya members try to disassociate themselves with earthly deeds as much as possible. Getting an Identity card, Huduma number or voters card is not a priority. 

In fact, it can be associated with the infamous mark of the beast. So long as their names are written in the Book of Life, the terrestrial registers are insignificant to a staunch believer. Some parents do not find it wise to send children to school. They believe education is to serve earthly lord, the devil (Ngoma). Some do it out of pure ignorance while others hide under the sect to run away from the expenses that come with schooling such as pocket money, school fees as well as getting enough manpower from the idle children to run errands at home.

Many of Kavonokya families are large enough with an individual mother getting up to ten children. The burden that come with big families won’t go away because of prayers alone. Family planning is highly discouraged. For both genders. The mission is to multiply and fill the earth as mandated by the good book in Genesis 1:28. 

Male circumcision is done from home. Just like every surgery requires at least supervision by a medic, so should circumcision.

Two Kavonokya boys aged 5 and 7 years in 2020 lost their lives courtesy of botched circumcision from a local traditionalist in Lundi village, Mwingi East.

PREACHING WATER AND DRINKING WINE 
A Kavonokya priest or elder who is opposed to you going to school or taking certain jobs like being a policeman or KDF deems it right to benefit from whatever you have reaped from your “earthly indulgence.”   A man in Tseikuru Ward lost his sheep thanks to his father’s generosity who was out to appease fellow congregants who were having fellowship in his father's homestead that night. The sheep had to be slaughtered to appreciate the spiritual visitors. Despite their hard stand on earthly things, they make excuses to own a mobile phone, bicycle, boda bodas even trucks.

DEFYING THE NEWTON'S  LAW OF GRAVITY 
A Mwingi legend has it that there lived a very dedicated Kavonokya elder called Mwengei. He loved God so much and that he was yearning to see Him. After waiting for long without God showing any signs of visiting him, he convinced other congregants that he will be embarking on a journey to Heaven to visit his Maker. 

Plans were made to get God presents like traditional millet cake known as Ngalamba, Kĩnaa, Mbĩthĩ and some fermented millet porridge (ũsũũ mũghaatu). Those were the first yield delicacies especially after a good harvest. So after being presented with the God’s gifts and the message to deliver to our Creator and Angels, the local legend climbed a very tall Mũange (Delonix elata) tree so that he can ascend easily Heavenwards.

No sooner had he jumped from the branch than a loud bang was heard from his epic fail. From that day he has been living with disability on his buttocks.

STORY By CEPHAS MUTAI

DR DANIEL MUTEGI GITI: Use Minerals present in counties to grow wealth and develop the economy

The Ministry of Mining, Blue Economy and Marine Affairs has published a preliminary mineral assessment report that shows that our countiesMeru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Kitui, Machakos among others are endowed with nine hundred and seventy (970) minerals. These minerals have been classified as having the potential for further prospecting for exploration to establish their nature, economic viability and their net worth in order to determine their commercial viability.
Mining, Blue Economy and  Maritime Affairs CS Salim Mvurya (Centre) with Kitui Governor Dr Julius Malombe (right) and other dignitaries address the media on March 13, 2023. Ukambani and Mt Kenya East counties have rich minerals and natural resources that can transform the region while contributing significantly to the GDP./KITUI COUNTY GOVERNMENT

Counties have valuable minerals like copper, graphite, Manganese, Iron ore, Coltan (which is the principal mineral for laptops/computers and mobile phones and all electronics manufacturing globally), Thorium, Nickel, Cobalt, industrial minerals, base metals, precious metals, rare earth metals, radio-active minerals, gemstones, construction and building materials. 

In the Eastern counties, major minerals found there include the iron ore because they are connected to the African Karoo formation that springs from South Africa all the way to Sudan, and which is a rich belt of iron ore and other related minerals. Iron ore is needed for steel making and hence supporting many sectors of the economy. Iron and steel forms 13 per cent of the manufacturing sector and supports sectors like housing and construction, energy and electronics and chemical and allied industries.

The direct and indirect use of steel is set to rise as the country is implementing the various development programmes including the Bottom –Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA), the Kenya Vision 2030 and various policies and priorities of the government, including measures to improve the economy, which in turn creates more demand for housing and construction activities.

The World Bank has estimated that iron and steel prices will increase by over 30 per cent, which can only be remedied through enhanced production of the same locally, and we have the raw materials in our counties. 

Our Counties must do three things in collaboration with the National Government to tap into the presence of iron ore to stimulate growth. One, they must work with National Government and its entities to avail cheaper and manufacturing friendly energy and electricity tariffs. This will make our manufacturing competitive and hence enable the products produced locally to compete favourably to products from other countries.

 Secondly, the counties must work with the National Government entities to zero rating Import Declaration Fees (IDF) and Railway Development Levy (RDL) charged on imported raw materials that support manufacturing. The cost of the imported raw materials that support manufacturing is a factor that contributes to the competitiveness of the manufactured goods locally.

Thirdly, Counties must work with National Government and its entities to incentivize local manufacturers to leverage on the locally available iron and coal projects to support local manufacturing that will create thousands of jobs and employment opportunities. 

Counties must develop incentives packages and measures to support the local manufacturing that utilizes the local raw materials and minerals. 

The minerals that have been highlighted in the survey have many lessons for Kenya. One, it confirms what Geographers have always estimated of the country that it is endowed with vast natural resources, both renewable and non-renewable ones like water, forestry, fisheries, and minerals like geothermal, wind, solar, coal, gas, and oil. These minerals and natural resources should be used extensively to ensure local economic growth and development.

 Secondly, it builds on the consensus that there is need for enhanced mineral resource exploitation in Kenya through introduction of ground truthing to confirm accurate details, mechanization, efficiency and effectiveness. This has the potential to make the sector to contribute more than 10 per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030, bearing in mind that a sustained 10 per cent GDP growth is what is needed to turn Kenya into a newly industrializing middle income nation providing a high quality of life for the citizens in a clean and secure environment.

 A study by KPMG in 2016 found out that the sector contributes an average of 0.4 percent of GDP. In 2020, the mineral sector contribution to GDP was 0.7 percent and in 2021, it was 0.8 percent, which means more can be done for the sector.

Mineral extraction faces many challenges including use of outdated technologies, limited financing for large scale mining activities, environmental pollution, degradation, and reliance on small scale and uneconomical mining operations.

Thirdly, by mapping out the minerals, the country and counties can operationalize effective partnerships and collaborations to exploit the mineral wealth within our borders. 

Fourthly, there is need for operationalization of the value chain approaches, value addition and manufacturing through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and other collaborations for effective extraction and utilization. 

In the US, mineral exploitation generates 1.3 direct and indirect jobs and each job in mining generates 2.9 other jobs, in addition to paying increased taxes.

OPINION By DR DANIEL MUTEGI GITI 

 Dr. Mutegi Giti is an Urban Management, Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) &Environment Specialist.

Email:mutegigiti@gmail.com.
Twitter:@DanielGiti.

Man dies after electrocution in Tseikuru

A middle-aged man was struck by high voltage electricity while planting during the ongoing March -April-May long rains on Monday March 27, 2023.
Kenya Power staff in a farm during their normal field work in a photo posted on June 11, 2022 on its Facebook page. A man from Tseikuru district in Kitui County died on March 27, 2023 as he ploughed a farm in Kalimani village. It is believed he hit an underground cabling that killed him instantly on electrocution./KENYA POWER CARE

Mr Muema Muisyo was electrocuted during the morning hours as he ploughed a shamba in Kalimani sub location of Tseikuru Ward, Kitui County. He was contracted to work in Mr Mutio Mwanza's farm who is an uncle to the late Muisyo.

"He was struck and died on the spot", said a resident familiar with the unfortunate incident.

Tseikuru residents interviewed by MWINGI TIMES have called upon the government to ensure people are informed about proper ways of managing risks associated with installing electric cables in their district. They also called upon owners of properties to restrict movements of people around "dangerous areas" within their premises.

In a story published by Kenyans.co.ke last month, Electrical Engineer James Oguttu said that underground cabling requires high safety standards since you are dealing with high voltage cables.
"You will find that you are  interacting with high voltage cables underground which is very hazardous" he told the digital newspaper saying that is the reason Kenya Power does overhead cabling for most areas it connects in Kenya.

Eng Oguttu added that there is a certain depth a technician should lay the cable and advanced insulation.

STORY By MWINGI TIMES CORRESPONDENT

MARY KANANA NTEERE: We need leaders willing to sacrifice for Kenya to move forward

The situation our country is in right now is not good. We need to slow down and stop blame games on who said what and who did what. Who said what and did what is long gone and we cannot bring that back.
President William Ruto (R) and Azimio La Umoja Principal Raila Odinga./FILE

We must ask ourselves, is the current state of affairs good for our country, Kenya?

If not, then without blaming anyone, we should come out as a United People and condemn both sides (Government and Opposition) by telling them to stop the nonsense and focus on what is best for this nation.

What people should realize is that human beings are self-centred and only seek things that will personally benefit them and their families. They forget friends very fast unless they can use the allies to protect them. 

Nobody should lie to you that they are Jesus Christ. Jesus was God in human body. Those roaming this world are children of Adam and Eve. 

Therefore, fighting one another benefits no one but brings suffering and death.

What I am saying is none in the Kenya Kwanza, Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Coalition or any other formation will ever play the role of Jesus. 

So let us not expect saints from mortal men and women. After elections, it's time to move forward and develop the nation.

Destroying what we have built over the many years proves even to God we are immature and childish. Because of this kind of behavior God kept the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years, a journey of 40 days. They suffered, died and the old generation perished in the wilderness. 

After their demise, it is then when God moved forward, Joshua being in charge that they crossed the Jordan river into the promised land.

Let us learn from the Israelites, their journey from Egypt and across the Jordan river.

A time has come when we should tell our people the truth. And the truth is getting focused and developing ourselves.

South Korea, Singapore and many other Tiger economies did not develop by frequent fighting. Their basis of fast growth was through honesty, trust and sacrifice. We should cultivate these values to our citizens.

We therefore need leaders who are honest, trustworthy and a people willing to sacrifice for Kenya to move forward.

For now, whatever divide one belongs, it's the high time we sober up and think positively for the betterment of our beloved country, Kenya.

OPINION By MARY KANANA NTEERE

Ms NTEERE is the Chairperson of Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Meru County Chapter

Most places in Kitui County register onset of long rains

Over 75 per cent of Kitui County has registered an onset of the long awaited March-April-May rains. This is according to the Kitui County Director of Meteorological Services Mr Daniel Mbithi.
Kitui County Weather Forecast for the week of March 28 to April 3,2023/ Kenya Meteorological Department 

In a weekly weather forecast shared with MWINGI TIMES for the period between March 28 to April 3 , 2023,  Mbithi said Tharaka Ward in Mwingi North Sub County registered the highest amount of rainfall a week after the onset. It had a rain gauge reading of 270.6mm.

The lowest amount of rainfall was recorded in Mutha Ward, Kitui South Sub County at 10.5mm.

The county Weatherman advised farmers to plant Drought Tolerant Crops  and consult the local Ward Agricultural Extension Officers for advice on best farming practices.

STORY By JOHN MUSEMBI

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