On 1 March 1975, three bombs exploded at the OTC bus stop in Nairobi. 27 people were killed and 100 others injured. No one claimed responsibility for the incident and the police declined to speculate on the identities and motives of the bombers.
On 31 December 1980, the Fairmont Norfolk Hotel was bombed by terrorists. 20 people were killed and 80 were injured after the attack. The hotel was extensively damaged and renovation commenced immediately. The terrorist, identified later by the police and Interpol as Quddura Mohammad Abd-el-Hamid, had boarded the 2.30 p.m. Kenya Airways flight bound for Jeddah via Khartoum six hours before the bomb exploded. He was a known terrorist travelling under the name Muradi Alkali with a Maltese passport.
On 7 August 1998 the U.S embassy in Kenya was bombed killing 212 people and leaving more than 4,500 wounded. The blast occurred at about 10:45 a.m.(Local time). The force of the blast blew off the embassy’s bomb-proof doors, which were later used as stretchers to carry away the injured. Injured people were rushed from the scene, as a plume of smoke rose above the Nairobi skyline. Windows were shattered as far as 10 blocks away, and bloodied clothing and papers littered the streets. On the same day, a second truck bomb exploded outside of the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, causing extensive damage to the building killing 12 people.In total, the two bombings killed 224 people, including 12 Americans. The Terrorist group al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the bombings and more than 20 people have been indicted in the United States for the bombings. Eight are currently serving prison terms.
On November 22, 2002 an Israeli owned hotel In Mombasa was bombed just as two missiles were fired at an Israeli holiday jet that had taken off from the city’s airport. The missiles narrowly missed the Arkia airline plane – a Boeing 757 carrying 261 passengers – but a large part of the Paradise Hotel was reduced to rubble and the rest was a smouldering shell.15 people died. Kenya police claimed three suicide bombers were killed, along with nine Kenyans and three Israelis, two of whom were children. About 80 people, most of them Kenyans, were injured in the attack. The Army of Palestine claimed responsibility for the attacks, however, speculations arose that it could have been Al-Qaeda.
In the months of August 2007 and 2008 respectively, the Ugandan army bombed over 5,000 Turkana pastoralists in Koten in a move to flush them out of the area. UPDF was accused of bombing the Turkana pastoralists in Nakwanye (Nakwanga) and Morutorong in August 2008.
On 21 October 2010 thirty people were reported to have been killed following the night clashes between Al-Shabaab and a pro-government Somali militia on the Kenya-Somali border.
In October 2011, Kenya sent troops into Somalia after Kenya’s national security was threatened by the Somalia-based Islamist militant group, Al-Shabaab. The terrorist group had in fact carried out a number of cross-border raids during the months preceding the operation.
On October 28, 2011, Kenyan born Elgiva Bwire Oliacha alias Mohamed Seif pleaded guilty to a grenade attack in Nairobi. Elgiva Bwire Oliacha confessed to being a member of Al-Shabaab, and admitted his role in a terror attack that took place in Nairobi. One person was killed in the and 20 others were wounded after the grenade was detonated in a bar.
On 10 March 2012, Al Shabaab killed six people and wounded sixty more after four grenades were detonated at the Machakos bus station in Nairobi.
On 18 November 2012, seven passengers were killed and 33 others injured following a bomb blast in a city matatu.
On 21 September 2013, Al Shabaab attacked pedestrians at Westgate Shopping Mall. 68 people were killed and over 150 people injured over the four days siege. Witnesses claimed that the attack was highly organised, with the attackers having pre-positioned weapons throughout the building, as well as obtaining access to service elevators. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility.
On 23 November 2013, suspected Al Shabaab militants killed at least 28 people on a bus in Arabiya area, Mandera County. The heavily armed militias were reported to have waylaid a Nairobi bound bus, which left the incursion prone Mandera town early in the morning between Mandera and Arabia. According to the Mandera East sub-county commissioner Elvis Korir the assailants stopped the bus, veered off from the main road before separating passengers and targeting those they perceived to be non-Muslim. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the killings through its radio station in Somalia, saying it was in retaliation for raids by the government security officials in the coastal city of Mombasa closed two mosques after allegedly found hosting radicalised Muslim youth and cache of firearms among them hand grenades.
Between 15 June and 17 June 2014, more than 60 people were killed in attacks in and near Mpeketoni, Kenya. The Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militant group claimed responsibility, but the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta asserted that the attacks were organized by local politicians with ties to a network of gangs.
In July 2014, 21 people were killed in Hindi village located in Lamu county. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility.
In August 2017, anti-terrorism detectives gunned down Hussein Said Omar aka Babley, a terror suspect after a police shootout. According to police reports, Babley and his brother Ahmed Said Omar alias Dogo were both suspected to be behind the 2014 Mpeketoni massacre.
On November 21, 2014, 28 people were killed after suspected Al-Shabaab militants attacked a Nairobi-bound bus in Omar Jilo, in Mandera County. Witnesses said the attackers ordered all off the bus, divided the passengers along ethnic lines – Somali and non-Somali, shooting all non-Somalis. Many of the deceased were teachers. Al Shabaab claimed the responsibility of the killing of the 36-non local Kenyans at a quarry in Koromei area near Mandera in the night of December 1, 2014 through a pro-Al-Shabaab website. They claimed that the attack on Koromei was part of series of attacks executed by the Mujahidin to serve as a response to Kenya’s occupation of Somalia and the killing of innocent Somalis.
On April 2, 2015, Al Shabaab gunmen attacked Garissa University killing 148 people. Among the deceased,142 were students.
On July 7, 2015, Al Shabaab attacked Mandera town, throwing grenades into the homes of quarry workers. 14 people were confirmed dead. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility, declaring they were specifically targeting Christians in the attack to avenge killings of Muslims in Somalia and Kenya by Kenyan security forces.
On October 25, 2016, Al Shabaab gunmen attacked Boshari Guest house during the early morning hours. 12 people were killed. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility, claiming there target were Christians.
On November 6, 2017, Al-Shabab militants ambushed and burnt down two police land cruisers in an attack in Daba City, Mandera County. The two vehicles carrying police officers were escorting a bus to Mandera when they were hit by rocket-propelled grenades. 12 killed, several wounded.
On August 13, 2017, Al-Shabaab destroyed a Kenyan police vehicle which was driving through Yadi, Damase and El Wak towns in Mandera with an improvised explosive device. Fatalities were recorded.
On September 25, 2018, Al-Shabaab militants claimed to have overrun a Kenyan military base in Taksile area north of Pandaguo, Lamu County. They killed 10 Kenyan soldiers. Kenyan military sources reported the clashes, although they claimed that 10 Al-Shabaab fighters had been killed.
On January 15, 2019 Al Shabaab attacked Nairobi, DusitD2 hotel. 21 people were killed and several other injured. About 700 people were rescued from the compound. On February 26, 2019 Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji claimed the Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) Eastleigh branch has been accused of helping to finance terror-related crimes by facilitating the withdrawal of Sh30 million by a suspect in one week to Jilib town which is the headquarters of Al-Shabaab.
Preeclampsia: The “Silent Killer” Stalking Expectant Mothers
9 min read. Ten million women develop preeclampsia each year around the world. Worldwide about 76,000 pregnant women die each year from preeclampsia and related hypertensive disorders. And, the number of babies who die from these disorders is thought to be on the order of 500,000 per annum, according to the World Health Organisation.
A recent study has revealed that expectant mothers in African countries, especially Uganda are more likely to die with preeclampsia condition compared to their counterparts in other East African countries.
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy disorder characterised by hypertension especially after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It can be dangerous to both the mother and the unborn baby. Gestational pregnancy may increase the risk of premature birth of the baby, increased birth weight of the baby, cesarean delivery, and preeclampsia.
Bulk of government health facilities in the country are struggling to manage the condition since most of the critical drugs needed to manage the condition are not stocked, simply because the government has not prioritised the condition.
The condition is the second cause of maternal deaths worldwide.
The study done by the Health Action on the situation on reproductive health commodities revealed that only 25 per cent of health facilities in Uganda stock Magnesium Sulphate as compared to 71 per cent in Kenya.
Magnesium sulphate is a mineral that reduces seizure risks in women with preeclampsia. A healthcare provider will give the medication intravenously.
The study conducted in four countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia) revealed that facilities in Tanzania and Zambia were not any better as far as the stocking of the commodity is concerned with 45 and 40 per cent respectively.
During the commemoration of world Preeclampsia Day on May 22 in Uganda, health facilities in Lira – a city in the Northern Region of Uganda – called for support from the government to enable them to handle mothers with the condition.
About 10 million pregnant women around the world develop preeclampsia each year. Out of the total 76,000 women die from preeclampsia and related hypertensive disorders. Additionally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates the number of babies who die from these disorders every year to be on the order of 500,000.
In developing countries, a woman is seven times as likely to develop preeclampsia than a woman in a developed country. From 10-25 per cent of these cases will result in maternal death.
Preeclampsia should be detected and appropriately managed before the onset of convulsions (eclampsia) and other life-threatening complications.
Administering drugs such as magnesium sulfate for pre-eclampsia can lower a woman’s risk of developing eclampsia.
In developed countries like the US, pregnant women are commonly followed by a healthcare specialist (doctor, midwife or nurse) with frequent prenatal evaluations. In other areas of the world with little access to care and lower social status of women for instance in Africa, traditional health practices are usually inadequate to detect preeclampsia early.
Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy commonly advance to more complicated stages of the disease, and many births and deaths occur at home unreported.
Poor women in remote areas are the least likely to receive adequate health care. This is especially true for regions with low numbers of skilled health workers, such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Although levels of prenatal care have increased in many parts of the world during the past decade, the WHO reports that only 46 per cent of women in low-income countries benefit from skilled care during childbirth. This means that millions of births are not assisted by a midwife, a doctor or a trained nurse.
But why are women in Africa dying of this condition yet it can be prevented?
Dr Annettee Nakimuli, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Mulago Hospital in Kampala and lecturer at Makerere University did research to answer that question.
She says although the condition affects women worldwide, in African women, it is more common and particularly severe. It also occurs earlier in pregnancy and can recur in subsequent pregnancies.
Dr Nakimuli reported that at Mulago Hospital where she works, 15 per cent of pregnancies develop life-threatening complications such as preeclampsia, hemorrhage, obstructed labour and sepsis.
She describes herself and her colleagues as being “on the front line” in the battle against death in pregnancy and childbirth. She did a study in 2017 in collaboration with Cambridge’s Department of Pathology and Centre for Trophoblast Research to unravel why a complex disease is so much worse in Africa.
But why would women of African descent suffer so much more from preeclampsia than other women? “There was an assumption in Africa that there was a socioeconomic reason, like poverty,” says Nakimuli. “I was convinced that there was something biological.”
She recruited 750 mothers at Mulago Hospital to what is the largest genetic study of pre-eclampsia conducted in Africa. She collected blood and umbilical cord samples and, in Cambridge, ‘typed’ the DNA to look at all the genetic variation.
“It was kind of a high-risk project, but my determination kept my hope alive. I wanted to find big things.” She says
The findings of the study revealed that killer-cell immunoglobulin receptors (KIRs), genes that protect African women against pre-eclampsia are different from those that protect European women.
KIRs recognises proteins called MHC on the invading fetal cells. Certain combinations of maternal KIR genes and fetal MHC genes are associated with pre-eclampsia, whereas other KIR genes appear to protect against the disease.
Moreover, the risky combination of maternal KIR and fetal MHC proteins occurs at a much higher frequency in sub-Saharan Africa than anywhere else in the world.
From the study, Dr Nakimuli together with other researchers will be researching to understand the biology of preeclampsia.
“We think that women of African ancestry may have these risk genes because of certain beneficial selective pressures, otherwise why would genes that kill mothers and babies be so common in the population? People with the gene that causes sickle-cell anaemia can fend off malaria – perhaps something similar is happening for KIR genes? And so now we are starting work to see whether the genes are protecting against infections such as measles, HIV and malaria.” She says
She also pointed out a lack of awareness and understanding of the condition as a barrier to treatment.
“There’s a general lack of awareness and understanding,” explains Nakimuli. “There isn’t even a Ugandan word for preeclampsia. The closest people get to describing the condition is ‘having hypertension which is different from other hypertension when you’re not pregnant’. It becomes a mouthful.”
Together with other researchers, they developed a format of awareness messages in which a radio presenter would play a real-life testimonial – such as a woman relaying the complications of her pregnancy – and then invite listeners to reply to a related question by sending a text to a toll-free number. Each respondent would subsequently receive an SMS socio demographic survey to complete.
“What makes preeclampsia such a challenge is that it has been impossible to predict or prevent,” explains Professor Ashley Moffett, from Cambridge’s Department of Pathology and Centre for Trophoblast Research, who is an expert on the disease.
“It’s been called the ‘silent killer’ because many women cannot feel the danger signs that their blood pressure is rising until it’s too late. Even when it is detected the only course of action is constant monitoring, and ultimately the only cure is delivery sometimes at too early a stage for the baby to survive,” adds Moffett.
However, during the release of the research study in the four countries in Zambia, Mr Denis Kibira, Executive Director, Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS) who conducted the study cited lack of enough blood pressure (BP) machines, designated preeclampsia ward, a postnatal ward, and inexperienced health workers to handle women with the condition as some of the challenges.
For instance, Lira Regional Referral Hospital in Uganda which receives about 100 expectant mothers daily for antenatal care, has only one blood pressure machine yet it serves nine districts in the region.
Mr Jino Okot, the in-charge of Ogur Health Centre IV, most health workers do not have the necessary skills to administer magnesium Sulphate and the government should do something to improve the situation of the mothers.
“Most of the health workers do not have the skills to diagnose preeclampsia. Some of them do not even know how to mix and administer. The Ministry of Health should understand that health workers need training if we are to ably manage the condition,” Mr Okot said.
Mr Edmond Acaka, Lira District assistant health officer-in-charge of maternal and child health, appealed to the Ministry of Health to come to the rescue of the district by increasing its budget to accommodate more of the commodities.
While Ms Beatrice Nyangoma, communications officer for HEPS-Uganda, asked the Ugandan government to consider regulating prices for magnesium sulphate to improve affordability and availability.
Mr Kibira while releasing the data to health journalists in Zambia in September said different levels of facilities were picked in each country. The methodology used consisted of a questionnaire and a qualitative survey component. Data collectors were trained in June 2018 (Tanzania), July 2018 (Kenya and Uganda), and August 2018 (Zambia).
The levels of health facilities visited in Kenya were level 3 and 5, in Tanzania: ‘Dispensary’ and above (country level 1-3), in Uganda: ‘Health Centre III’ and above (country level 3-7), and in Zambia: ‘Health post’ and above (country level 1-4).
The study conducted across sectors (public, private and mission) hospitals in urban and rural areas in 169 facilities in Kenya, 126 in Tanzania, 145 in Uganda and 237 in Zambia also revealed there was a large variability of supplements per type and country.
The mean availability of these commodities was 36 per cent in Kenyan health facilities, 29 per cent in Tanzanian, 37 per cent in Ugandan and 34 per cent in Zambian health facilities.
The data collection tool assessed the availability of 55 SRH commodities at the moment of data collection in each of the 677 study facilities.
Only in Zambia were all these supplements such as calcium gluconate, ferrous salt, folic acid, zinc, and oral rehydration salts commonly available (70-84 per cent overall) except calcium gluconate, which had an overall availability of just six per cent.
Calcium gluconate was also poorly stocked in other countries, with availabilities of 28 per cent in Kenya, 17 per cent (Uganda) and two per cent (Tanzania).
Oxytocin, used to induce labour and for the prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage, was stocked relatively commonly (47-91 per cent), except the private sector in Kenya (27 per cent) and Zambia (20 per cent).
Zambia was leading with oxytocin stocks in facilities at 94 per cent followed by Kenya at 84 per cent. Tanzania third at 78 per cent while Uganda was the least with 64 per cent.
Gentamicin, used to treat pneumonia and neonatal and maternal sepsis,was moderately available in all countries (overall, 60-81 per cent), except for in Tanzania (23 per cent).
While the availability of dexamethasone, used in the management of pre-term labour to improve foetal lung maturity, was considerably lower, ranging from 11 per cent (overall, Tanzania) to 50 per cent in Uganda.
According to the World Health Organisation, the full intravenous magnesium sulphate regimens are recommended for the prevention and treatment of eclampsia.
“Magnesium sulfate is a lifesaving drug and should be available in all health-care facilities throughout the health system. The guideline development group believed that capacity for clinical surveillance of women and administration of calcium gluconate were essential components of the package of services for the delivery of magnesium sulfate,” says the WHO.
The international health agency states that in settings where there are resource constraints to manage the administration of magnesium sulfate safely in all women with pre-eclampsia, there may be a need to accord greater priority to the more severe cases.
The availability of medical devices from the study was inconsistent across the countries.
Speculums (metal or plastic device that is used to open the vagina enough to see inside were available at 85 per cent of the public facilities of Kenya, 84 per cent of Tanzania’s, 89 per cent of Uganda’s and 64 per cent of Zambia’s public facilities.
The private sector showed lower availabilities at 45 per cent of Tanzanian, 82 per cent of Uganda, 72 per cent of Kenya and 15 per cent of Zambian facilities.
Ultrasound scans had availability levels below 50 per cent in all sectors (public and private hospitals) of all countries, except the mission sector of Uganda (57 per cent).
Foetal scopes were commonly available in the public sector of Tanzania (97 per cent), Uganda (96 per cent) and Zambia (80 per cent), but not in Kenya (35 per cent).
Availability in the private and mission sectors showed a more mixed picture, with availabilities ranging from 16 per cent (private, Zambia) to 96 per cent (mission, Uganda).
Safe delivery kits were not at all available in Kenya and Uganda, and only 16 per cent of Zambian facilities. Tanzania had a much more elaborate availability at 82 per cent of public, 32 per cent of private and 33 per cent of mission facilities.
The availability of antiseptic was similar in Tanzania (65 per cent), Uganda (61 per cent) and Zambia (63 per cent), but lower in Kenya (24 per cent).
Vasectomy and tubal ligation kits were mostly unavailable in the four countries, with all overall availabilities below 10 per cent
Mr Kibira said most of the sexual reproductive health commodities were unavailable in most facilities because the governments were not budgeting enough for them.
“These are essentials that each country should have in place but most countries are not considering them as a priority hence the stock-outs,” he said
In the recommendation, Kenya was asked to adopt a multi-sectoral approach in the
provision of health services and commodities, especially in the rural and hard to reach areas, by integrating and bringing services closer to the population.
“County governments should include all the drugs as essential medicines by making budget available for their purchase,” recommends the study.
For Uganda, the government has been asked to actively seek out strategies to reduce the cost of high-cost SRHC such as magnesium sulphate, for instance through offering subsidies.
“Strategies to improve the SRHC supply chain must be actively sought to ensure that commodities are delivered on time and in the quantities ordered. Healthcare providers to receive additional training on SRHCs, especially in the private and mission sector facilities,” states the study.
The Zambian government has been urged to increase the number of trained staff, and improve the knowledge of existing staff and also improve the supply chain of the commodities.
For Tanzania, inadequate availability of SRH commodities, frequent stock-outs, poor logistic management, and limited community knowledge constituted major factors contributing to the problems experienced with accessing SRH commodities in the country
The government was, therefore, asked to ensure all the commodities on the international Essential Medicines Lists (EMLs) are also included in the Tanzania EML and sensitise communities about SRH services and commodities.
Food Trends in Kenya (2007- 2017)
4 min read. Rising food prices in Kenya have an adverse effect on the country’s development as a whole.
The right to food as stipulated in Article 43 of the Constitution of Kenya recognises that all Kenyans have the right to be free from hunger and to have adequate food of acceptable quality. But we are still hungry.
Kenya has had several droughts that have affected its productivity yields in agriculture over the past few years. This, in tandem with corruption, inefficiency and demographic bulge has put pressure on our current food systems. Food prices have therefore increased to the detriment of the consumer whose income has barely increased.
Because of this, it is estimated that about 16 million Kenyan’s are poor, 7.5million people live in extreme poverty, and over 10 million people suffer from chronic food insecurity and poor nutrition. During periods of drought, heavy rains and/or floods, the number of people in need could double if this trend continues.
Since 2007, the cost and volatility of many staple food commodities (maize flour, beans, carrot and milk) have increased tremendously. Adverse weather conditions and climate change, prolonged or recurrent droughts, shifts in local production, disease and consumption shocks, inflation and changing informal trading patterns, are rapidly redefining food affordability and transforming food consumption, production and market dynamics.
The Consumer Price Index – a measure of prices of a basket of goods over time – has also increased since 2007 due to a steady increase in prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks. While the annual average of non-food Consumer Price Index (CPI) which includes alcoholic beverages, tobacco, narcotics, clothing, footwear, housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance, health, transport, communication, recreation & culture, education, restaurant and hotels and miscellaneous goods and services, has increased by 53.9 per cent.
Retail prices of food products have gone up by 83.3 per cent in the last ten years. During this time, 30 per cent of food commodities have tripled in prices. The prices of kerosene and petrol rose by only 15.73 and 28.23 per cent respectively over the same period. The slow rise in the fuel prices was mainly due to the decline in international oil prices that started in 2014 through to 2018. Government revenue and expenditure increased over the past years though expenditure grew at a faster pace resulting in the increase of fiscal deficit.
Data from Basic Report Based on 2015/16 Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey, shows the majority of households spend 44.6 per cent of their budget on education. Food closely follows at 33.5 per cent. In male-headed households, expenditure on education accounted for more than half of the cash transfers while female-headed households spend a higher proportion on food. Nationally, 54.7 per cent of cash transfers received from government programmes was spent on education while 32 per cent was spent on food. In rural areas, 43.8 per cent of cash received was spent on education compared with 73.4 per cent in urban areas.
Shocks to Household Welfare
A shock is an event that may trigger a decline in the well-being of an individual, a community, a region, or even a nation. According to the economic survey (2017) the shocks which occurred during the five-year period preceding the survey and had a negative impact on households’ economic status/welfare.
Three in every five households reported having experienced at least one shock within the five years preceding the survey. A sharp rise in food prices was reported by the highest proportion (30.15%) of households as the first severe shock. Most households reported that they used their savings to cope with the shock(s).
The severity of a shock is assessed to define the impact on the household’s economic or social welfare. This is a simple ranking mechanism from the respondent’s perception to assist in determining the effect of the shock. A severe shock has debilitating effect on the household economic or welfare status.
Nationally, a steep rise in food prices was reported as a severe shock by the highest proportion of households (30.1%). Other shocks reported by households as severe were droughts/floods (27.3%), death of other members of the family (21.5%) and death of livestock (20.1%).
In urban areas, high proportions of households reported that they struggled with high food prices (18.6%) and the death of other family members (14.9%). Death of other family members was ranked as the first severe shock, by about the same proportion of households in rural and urban areas. Households that lost livestock through death or theft mainly resorted to selling animals, while those affected by high food prices reduced food consumption at the household level.
According to the derived poverty lines, households whose adult equivalent food consumption expenditure per person per month fell below Ksh 1,954 in rural areas and Ksh 2,551 in urban areas were deemed to be food poor. Similarly, households whose overall consumption expenditure fell below Ksh 3,252 and Ksh 5,995 in rural and urban areas, respectively, per person per month were considered to be overall poor. Further, all those households that could not afford to meet their basic food requirements with all their total expenditure (food and non-food) were deemed to be hard-core/ extreme poor.
Rising food prices in Kenya have an adverse effect on the country’s development as a whole. Key contributors, partners and relevant authorities in the food sector should continue to analyse food prices and related issues, put in place mechanisms to respond to early warning of disasters such as droughts, floods and other disasters and come up with strategies to avert the negative effects of high food prices in the future.
Written and published with the support of the Route to Food Initiative (RTFI) (www.routetofood.org). Views expressed in the article are not necessarily those of the RTFI.
Who Owns Kenyan Banks?
10 min read. While banks have begun to adhere to disclosure requirements spelt out in the prudential guidelines issued by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) much more needs to be done, particularly pertaining to competition policy and regulation to put checks and balances on the monopolisation of the banking sector in Kenya.
Banking in Kenya dates back to the pre-colonial periods. The first banks largely concentrated on financing international trade along the Europe-South Africa–India axis, but later diversified operations to tap the opportunities for profitable banking created by a growing farming settler community and pioneer traders in the local economy to whom they provided deposit and credit facilities.
Indian money lenders operating quasi bank services as early as the 18th century were probably the first bankers but the first recognisable bank was Jetha Lila Bankers from India, which was established in Zanzibar in 1880. In 1889 the National Bank of India appointed the trade house of Smith Mackenzie to be their agent in Zanzibar. Smith Mackenzie had a Mombasa branch in 1887 which was taken over by the Imperial British East Africa (IBEA) in 1888. The National Bank of India established its own office in Zanzibar in 1892. In July 1896 the National Bank of India established a branch in Mombasa renting premises from Sheriff Jaffer.
In April 1909, the East Africa Post Office Savings Bank Ordinance was passed and in April of the following year, the Ordinance for the Regulation of Banks established in the East Africa Protectorate was passed. The former Ordinance established the first bank in the formal sense while the latter enabled the National Bank of India to become the first commercial bank. By 1911 there were only three banks: The National Bank of India, The Standard Bank of South Africa that came in December 1910 which later merged with Anglo-Egyptian Bank Ltd to form Barclays Bank in 1926 and Kathiawad and Ahmedabad Banking Corporation which had a short-lived presence in Mombasa from 1910 to 1915.
In 1920 the East Africa Protectorate was declared a colony of the British Empire and its name changed to Kenya. The new colonial starters helped the Banks grow rapidly mainly through European Deposits and Asian customers. The banking services were not available to Africans, the only banking sources for Africans was the Post Office savings bank which started in 1910 as a department of the Colonial Postal service, even then the service was only available in places where Officials of the colonial service were stationed and therefore did not reach the majority of Africans who resided in rural areas.
The steadily growing economy in Kenya would soon lead to an influx of new banks between 1950 and 1959. In 1951 the Dutch bank Nedelandsche opened a branch in Nairobi. It was followed by the Bank of India which opened its first branch in Treasury square in Mombasa on January 17th 1953 and the Bank of Baroda on December 4th of the same year with its first branch also in Mombasa. The Pakistan based Habib Bank AG Zurich Ltd came in 1956 while the Ottoman Bank and Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) rounded off the rush by establishing branches in the country in 1958.
After Indian attaining independence from Britain in 1947 and the subsequent hiving off of Pakistan, India changed its name in 1958 to National Oversees and Grindlays bank later called National and Grindlays Bank following its merger with Grindlays bank another landing based bank which traced its roots to Calcutta India. By 1951 the Banks had expanded its branches considerably but employment opportunities for Africans in the Banking industry took a long time to materialize. Indeed, it was not until June 1963 a few months before the country attained independence that the first African manager of a Bank branch Peter Nyakiamo was appointed.
After independence, the changing landscape of banking began to note the entrance of fully indigenous banks. In June 1965 the first fully locally owned Commercial Bank, the Cooperative Bank of Kenya was registered as a Cooperative Society; initially, it served the growing farming community. Cooperative bank as it came to be known commenced its operations as a Bank on January 10th 1968. The first fully Government-owned Bank the National Bank of Kenya was established on June 19th 1968. In 1971, the Kenya Commercial Bank was formed following the merger of the National and Grindlays Bank, with the government owning a 60-per cent majority stake. It took the poll position as the largest of the country’s commercial banks in terms of deposits and number of branches.
The formation of the Government-owned Banks had the desire to fight the speeding of the provision of affordable banking services to the majority of the population. It also prompted Foreign-owned bank to take measures to remain relevant in the Kenyan markets and beyond. Today, according to the Bank supervision annual report 2017, Kenya currently has 44 banks. 31 of the banks are locally owned while the remaining 13 are foreign-owned. Among the 31 locally owned banks, the government of Kenya has a shareholding in three of them, 27 of them are commercial banks and one is a mortgage finance institution, known as Housing Finance.
Of the 44 banks, ten are listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange with respect to the names of their shareholders namely Barclays Bank of Kenya Ltd, Stanbic Bank Kenya Limited, Equity Bank Ltd, Housing Finance Ltd, Kenya Commercial Bank Ltd, NIC Bank Ltd, Standard Chartered Bank (K) Ltd, Diamond Trust Bank Kenya Ltd, National Bank of Kenya and Co-operative Bank of Kenya Ltd. The shareholding structure of these banks constitutes, one that is state-owned, six locally owned and three that are foreign-owned.
Together, they act as representatives of local, foreign, state, single and block shareholding in Kenya.
In 2016, in the wake of the collapse of three lenders —Dubai, Imperial and Chase banks — precipitated by weak corporate governance practices that allowed irregular issuing of loans to politically connected customers, wanton insider lending and running of parallel banks, the Central Bank of Kenya issued orders for banks to disclose top shareholders on their websites. An outcome of this has been greater transparency and public trust. However, as this analysis illustrates, is a network of individuals, companies and banks who are the major shareholders of Kenyan banks.
Let us examine this?
The National Bank of Kenya’s two key shareholders are the National Treasury of Kenya and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF). The NSSF holds 48.1% of the ordinary shares as well as 20.7% (253 million) of the non-cumulative preference shares in the Bank. The National Treasury holds 22.5% of the ordinary shares as well as 79.3% (900 million shares) of the Bank’s non-cumulative preference shares. The remaining 29.5% of the ordinary shares are held by the general public through the NSE namely, Kenya Reinsurance Corporations, Best Investments Decisions Ltd, Co-op bank custody a/c 4003a, Craysell Investments Limited, NIC Custodial Services a/c 077, Equity nominee Ltd a/c 00084, NBK Client a/c 1( Anonymous) and Eng. Ephraim Mwangi Maina who has 0.3% shares.
Co-operative Bank of Kenya public and was listed on December 22nd 2008.
Shares previously held by the 3,805 Co-operative Societies and unions were ring-fenced under Co-op Holdings Co-operative Society Ltd which became a strategic investor in the Bank with a 64.56% stake (3 Billion shares), followed by Gideon Maina Muriuki with 1.9% shares, Kenya Commercial Bank nominees a/c 915B 0.8% shares, NIC Custodial Services a/c 077 0.7% shares,Stanbic Nominees Ltd a/c Nr 1030682 0.5% ,Aunali Fidahussein Rajabali and Sajjad Fidahussein Rajabali 0.4%, Amarjeet Balooobhai Patel and Baloobhai Chhotabhai Patel, Old Mutual Life Assurance Company,Kenya Reinsurance Corporations and Standard Chartered Nominees Resd a/c ke11443 hold 0.3% shares each.
Co-op bank custody a/c 4003a (anonymous) has shares in two banks, National Bank of Kenya and Standard Chartered.
On 31st December 2014, Equity Group holdings PLC finalized an internal restructuring that culminated in its conversion into a non-operating holding company, Equity Group Holdings Limited (EGHL) in order to further meet its objectives. The Bank arm was founded in 1984 as Equity Building Society (EBS). In 2006, the Bank was listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange where it has become the largest Bank by market capitalization. The listing also attracted Helios, a strategic investor, to invest USD 185 million in 2007.
Arise BV is the top investor at Equity Bank Limited with 12% shares. Aris-constituting Norfund, FMO and Rabobank-paid kes17.6 billion for a share of Equity Group Holdings KES147 billion market valuation. Aris took over the shares held by Norfininvest.
Other shareholders include James Mwangi and British American Investment Company Kenya Ltd with 127 Million shares, Standard Chartered Nominees with 121 Million shares, Equity Bank ESOP 117 Million shares, Standard Chartered Kenya Nominees Ltd a/c 107 Million Shares, Fortress Highlands Ltd 101 Million shares, Equity nominees Ltd a/c 93 Million shares, Stanbic Nominees Ltd a/c and Aib Nominee a/c Solidus Holdings Ltd hold 92Million shares.
Kenya Commercial Bank, Eastern Africa is the oldest and largest commercial bank started its operations in Zanzibar as a branch of National Bank of India In 1896. The bank extended its operation to Nairobi in 1902, which had become the headquarters of the expanding railway line to Uganda. In 1975, The Government of Kenya acquired majority shareholding and changed the name to Kenya Commercial Bank. In 1988, the Government sold 20%of its shares at NSE through an IPO that saw 120,000 new shareholders acquire the bank. The National Treasury is the top investor at Kenya Commercial Bank with 17.5% shares, followed by National Social Security Fund (NSSF) with 173 Million shares, Standard Chartered Nominee a/c with 69 Million shares, Standard Chartered Nominees Ltd a/c with 63 Million shares,CFC Stanbic Nominees Ltd a/c with 61 Million shares, Standard Chartered Kenya Nominee a/c with 58 Million shares, Standard Chartered Kenya Nominees Ltd a/c with 52 Million shares ,Standard Chartered nominees a/c ke002382 with 46 Million shares, Standard Chartered nominees a/c ke9688 with 45 Million shares and Standard Chartered Kenya nominees non-resd a/c 9069 with 36 Million shares.
Amalgamated Banks of South Africa (ABSA) Group Limited formerly known as Barclays Africa Group Ltd has the highest shares, 68.5% at Barclays Bank of Kenya, followed by Standard Chartered Nominees Resd a/c ke8723 e with 75 Million shares, Standard Chartered nominees resd a/c ke11401 with 46 Million shares, Kenya Commercial Bank Nominees Limited a/c 915b with 41 Million shares,Standard Chartered nominees resd a/c ke11450 with 38 Million shares, Kenya Commercial Bank Nominees Limited a/c 915a with 34 Million shares, Standard Chartered nominees a/c 9230 and Standard Chartered nominees non-resd. a/c 9913 hold 23 Million shares, Goodwill (Nairobi) Limited a/c 94 with 21 Million shares and the Jubilee Insurance Company of Kenya Limited with 20 Million shares.
Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Limited was established in 1911 with the first branch opened in Mombasa Treasury Square. The Bank was listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange in 1989. The public shareholding is just over 25% (remainder held by Standard Chartered PLC) and comprises over 30,000 shareholders. Standard Chartered Holdings is the top shareholder with 73.5% shares and operates as a subsidiary of Standard Chartered Holdings International B.V. Standard Chartered Holdings (Africa) BV is an Overseas UK company opened on 17 May 2002. Kabarak Limited follows with 3.5 Million shares, Co-op Bank Custody a/c 4003A with 1.9 Million shares , Standard Chartered Kenya Nominees – a/c KE002382 and Standard Chartered Nominees – resd a/c KE11450 they both hold 1.7 Million shares, Standard Chartered Nominees – a/c 9230 they both hold 1.5 Million shares, Kenya Commercial Bank Nominees Limited – a/c 915B and Standard Chartered Africa Limited, they both hold 1.4 Million shares, Old Mutual Life Assurance Company Limited with 1.3Million shares and Standard Chartered Nominees – resd a/c KE11401 holds 1.1Million shares.
Standard Chartered Kenya Nominees Ltd a/c (anonymous) has almost equal shares in two banks, Equity Bank limited and Kenya Commercial Bank.
Standard Chartered nominees a/c ke002382 (anonymous) has shares in two banks, Diamond Trust Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank.
Standard Chartered nominees a/c ke11450 (anonymous) has shares in two banks, Housing Finance and Barclays Bank of Kenya
Stanbic Bank Kenya Limited (SBK) was established in 1958 when Ottoman Bank incorporated its first subsidiary in the region. In 1969, Ottoman Bank sold its Kenyan operations to National and Grindlays Bank (NGB Kenya) making its exit from the East African market. Stanbic nominees ltd a/c nr00901 is the top shareholder at Stanbic bank with 60.0% shares, followed by Standard Chartered nominees non-resd. a/c 9866 with 34 Million shares, Standard Chartered nominees non -resd. a/c 9867 with 13 Million shares, Standard Chartered Kenya nominees Ltd, a/c ke20510 with 9 Million shares, Standard Chartered Kenya nominees Ltd a/c ke002012 with 8 Million shares, Standard Chartered nominees Ltd non-resd a/cke11663 with 7 Million shares, Standard Chartered nominees non-resd. a/c ke9053 with 5 Million shares, the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury of Kenya with 4.3 Million shares, Standard Chartered nominee account ke17661 with 4.1 Million shares and Standard Chartered Kenya nominees ltd a/c ke23050 with 3.6 Million shares.
Diamond Trust Bank Group is an African banking group active in Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. It has operated in East Africa for over 70 years. It is an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and the flagship of DTB Group is Diamond Trust Bank (Kenya), which was founded in 1946. Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development is the top shareholder at Diamond Trust Bank with 16.5% shares, followed by Habib Bank Limited with 45 Million shares, The Jubilee Insurance Company of Kenya Limited with 27 Million shares, Standard Chartered Nominees a/c KE18965 and ,Standard Chartered Nominees a/c KE18972 have 5.2 Million shares, The Diamond Jubilee Investment Trust (U) Limited with 3.8 Million shares, Standard Chartered Nominees a/c KE002382 with 3.5 Million shares, Aunali Fidahussein Rajabali and Sajjad Fidahussein Rajabali with 3.3 Million shares, Standard Chartered Nominee Non Resd a/c KE11752 and CFC Stanbic Nominee Limited a/c NR1873738 have with 2.7 Million shares.
Housing Finance Limited is a large mortgage finance company in Kenya. The company was established in November 1965, to promote a savings culture and homeownership among the citizens of newly independent Kenya. Major investors in the company include the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), whose shareholding at one time was as high as 60%, and the Government of Kenya, which at one time owned 50% of the company. CDC has since divested from Housing Finance Limited and the Kenyan Government has substantially reduced its shareholding.
In 1992 Housing Finance Company of Kenya became listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange.
Britam Investment Company (Kenya) Ltd is the top shareholder at Housing Finance with 19.9% shares, followed by Equity Nominees Limited a/c 00104 with 44 Million shares, Britam Insurance Company (Kenya) Ltd with 33 Million shares, Britam Insurance Company (Kenya) Ltd with 23 Million shares,Standard Chartered Nominees Resd a/c KE 11401 with 14 Million shares, SCB a/c Pan African Unit Linked FD with 11 Million shares,Permanent Secretary Treasury with 8 Million shares,Kenya Commercial Bank Nominees Ltd a/c 915B with 5 Million shares,Standard Chartered Nominees Resd a/c KE11450 and Kenya Commercial Bank Nominees Ltd a/c 915A have 4 Million shares.
Investments & Mortgages Limited was formed as a private company providing personalised financial services to business people in the Nairobi area. In 1980, I&M, as the company was known at that time, was registered as a Financial Institution under the Banking Act. Following changes in the regulations of the Central Bank of Kenya, I&M became a commercial bank in 1996. In 2013, I&M Bank created I&M Holdings Limited, as the holding company of all the group’s businesses and subsidiaries. The holding company’s shares of stock are listed and publicly traded on the Nairobi Securities Exchange under the symbol I&M. Minard Holdings Limited is the top shareholder at I&M Holdings with 19.9% shares, followed by Tecoma Limited with 76 Million shares, Ziyungi Limited with 73 Million shares, Standard Chartered Kenya nominees Ltd a/c ke002796 with 41 Million shares.
Kenya Reinsurance Corporation has shares in two banks, Cooperative Bank and National Bank of Kenya.
National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has shares in two banks, National Bank of Kenya and Kenya Commercial Bank.
NIC Custodial Services a/c 077 (anonymous) has shares in two banks, Cooperative Bank of Kenya and National Bank of Kenya.
The National Treasury has shares in two banks, Kenya Commercial Bank and National Bank of Kenya.
The Jubilee Insurance Company of Kenya Limited has shares in two banks, Diamond Trust Bank and Barclays Bank of Kenya.
Banks play an important role in the economy of a country. When banks efficiently mobilize and allocate funds, this lowers the cost of capital to firms, boosts capital formation, and stimulates economic activities. Thus, weak governance in the banking sector can have far-reaching consequences to the economy of a country. In the recent past, the banking sector in Kenya has witnessed a number of corporate governance issues that sent jitters among millions of bank customers resulting in a confidence crisis. While banks have begun to adhere to disclosure requirements spelt out in the prudential guidelines issued by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) much more needs to be done, particularly pertaining to competition policy and regulation to put checks and balances on the monopolisation of the banking sector in Kenya.
This story was produced in partnership with Code for Africa’s iLAB data journalism programme, with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie.
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