The Backbone Of Real Estate In Kenya

| Mwenda Thuranira

Kenya has, in the past few decades, seen an exponential growth in the real estate sector. Years from now, this time will be recalled as the period of construction and reconstruction in Kenya. If you are an investor and are still alive in this era, then it would be a far too expensive opportunity-cost to forego the Real Estate option. Here are some of the key factors that have considerably led to Real Estate Growth in Kenya:

Improved purchasing power

The Kenyan economy, as per Kenya National Bureau of Statistics indicators, shows a steady growth of the Kenyan economy at rate of about 5% per annum. This therefore interprets to an annual increase in the per capita income (income per person) leading to an increase in the Kenyans’ purchasing ability of items including real estate. This growth is expected to continue into the future, which makes Kenya a reliable option for investors, particularly when it comes to the real estate market.

Growing middle class

The increased purchasing power has contributed to the growth of the number of middle-income earners in the nation as a result of job creation backed by good education and entry of improved technology in different sectors of the economy. Educated youth are able to find lucrative jobs that provide a steady income allowing them to afford adequate housing via loans and mortgages. The power to purchase their homes or pay a higher rent has created a demand in the property market which is a source of revenue and delight to property developers. The youth therefore add to the number of local investors in Kenya.

Foreign investment

A myriad of multinational firms are tapping into the Kenyan market as a gate-way to capture the East African market in the long run. The Kenyan government and her people have created incentives to foreign investors through attractive legislative and social frameworks that can accommodate them both in the present and future. Projections done by the World Bank reveal that the Kenyan economy is likely to experience an economic growth of approximately 5.7% for the year 2013 – this has served as an eye opener to foreign investors.

Investment in infrastructure

Both the central government and private investors have seen the value of investing in both transport and communication networks. Such infrastructure developments include the Thika Superhighway; the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor; and the Dongo Kundu, Southern and Northern bypass. They are envisioned to: improve efficiency in economic relations with other countries and among the local business community; and to open up new real estate markets in different geographic locations.

This is the ideal moment to jump on the bandwagon and reap the foreseen returns from real estate.

Mwenda Thuranira is the CEO of Myspace Properties


| 30 Aug 2013


Keep Your Titles; Give Us Our Land

| Owen Yaa Baya


The Mau Mau in Kenya fought for land and they got it. Shujaa Mekatili wa Menza and her compatriots fought for land but they did not get it. When they thought they had it in their hands and it was time to rest, new Mr. Champions emerged, whose trickery was more dangerous because they held documents called title deeds that took away what the heroine and her people fought for.

Today, the daughters and sons of Mekatilili are settled on the land of their forefathers but have a new title: “squatters”. It is a title that can only change when someone in Nairobi says “yes, that is your land” and provides a title deed.

President Uhuru Kenyatta descends into Mombasa followed by a Kenya Police plane carrying 60,000 land titles to be issued to squatters. Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and his men gather to decry the move to dish out titles, as one Dr. Muhamud Swazuri, the Chairman of the National Lands Commission says with certainty that his commission does not know anything about the business. He adds that some of those titles probably started being processed in the ‘80s.

Then the Lands Housing and Urban Development Principal Secretary enters the fray saying due diligence has been done with the full involvement of the local people. But wait a minute PS Mariamu, how was the consultation done with full involvement with the local people if their elected leaders know nothing about the exercise? Maybe it was done on Facebook, Whatsapp or Twitter? Or probably via personal calls to the beneficiaries and chiefs and assistant chiefs? Maybe county commissioners were consulted?

Integrity issues have repeatedly been raised about the goings on at Ardhi house. If the same Ardhi house processed these documents in just a few days, then chances are the information used to come up with the titles is highly suspect.

The owner of the land and the owner of the title deed must be the same person. Anything else is a clear recipe for chaos. A case in point is the Chembe, Kanani, Kibaba Muche area. If the government has now processed land titles for these areas then there is almost sure to be  trouble as what is on record is not what is on the ground.

What fuels the suspicion that the bulk of these titles are going to non-Coastals is the political angle to the whole matter. A title deed is a private matter. It actually is part of private property. Why would a whole head of state come to give local residents land titles? Whose benefit is it for in the long run? It must be for the president and therefore cannot be a sign of goodwill.

If it truly was an olive branch, the national government should have allowed county governments to participate in vetting the lists through the ward representatives. The titles would then have been sent to the county governor’s office awaiting the arrival of the president to issue them.

Handling this matter in a proper way would have indeed helped the president come closer to endearing himself to the people of the coast who voted against him almost to a man. One of the reasons that the people of the coast did not vote for the president was land. There was suspicion that like his father he would not give issues of land at the Coast a meaningful hearing. And now when he looks like he would like to prove his critics wrong his handlers are now getting the whole thing wrong.

All said and done, let the coast people be assured of their land. Let each and every person feel and know that there is a genuine mechanism to ensure that they have land they can settle on, and that no one can come to unsettle them from their ancestral lands because of a piece of paper. The national government would rather keep their titles but ensure that people have land they can call their own to settle on. Titles can come thereafter.


| 30 Aug 2013

New Berth Shows Kenya Is Ready To Fight

The president’s reiteration that we are custodians of the Gateway to the East Africa upon whom our regional brothers depend brought a ray of hope that the Mombasa Port is deadly serious about maintaining its lead over any competition that can be mustered south of Kenya’s border.

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni’s commissioning of the Sh5.6 billion facility and the presence of Rwandan President Paul Kagame during the occasion that will be hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta underlines the fact we’re still number one in the race.

But that should not make us complacent. Although the new berth increases the port’s capacity by 33 per cent, the country will only be able to keep its lead position only if it maintains the momentum of the changes it has been undertaking recently to fix the failures that have allowed Dar-es-Salaam to steal business away from Mombasa. As it stands, the amount of cargo meant for the hinterland of Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi that has been diverting from Mombasa and going through Dar-es-Salaam has grown by an average of 25 per cent annually.

That President Kenyatta is aware of the need for Mombasa to retake its position as the leader is clear from his directives in June aimed at massive reforms at the port and along the transport and logistics corridor. The directive required the Kenya Ports Authority MD of to take charge of all the operations around the facility to reduce delays. The directive also required institutions to work round the clock and abolished the scanning of trans-shipment cargo and trans-shipment bonds.

It also required alignment of organisations’ processes to be compatible with the National Single Window Systems and removed roadblocks and weighbridges except for the one at Mariakani.

And now, the new berth, constructed at an estimated cost of Sh5.8 billion means that the port now has additional capacity of 200,000 twenty-foot equivalent per annum. This will greatly help ease the movement of cargo in the region and boost the attractiveness of Mombasa port in the face of competition from neighbouring Tanzania.

These are all signs of progress though much work remains to be done. An effective port backed by an effective infrastructural network will do a lot towards propelling the country towards greater prosperity.

And while the law of competition may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department.
– Andrew Carnegie



| 30 Aug 2013

We May Not Need a Referendum, But…

| Owen Yaa Baya

Political temperatures in the country are on the rise with the self-righteous Jubilee government fighting to maintain the status quo as CORD tries to re-engineer itself into something relevant. In all this, two things are certain. One, our voting patterns this election exposed how the deep the rot of tribalism is in this country; and two, that the way the current government is handling devolution is indeed an assault at the very constitution they say they are protecting.

A keen analyst will note without prejudice that the future of this country in the next twenty years is likely to be determined by two tribes who have now known that if they came together at every election they can always win the presidency. But that is not the problem. The issue is that these two tribes use the presidency as a prize to reward their communities and keep material wealth in the hands of a few Kenyans concentrated in neighboring regions. The heavily skewed government appointments clearly show this.

So is the constitution the problem or the politics wrong?  To answer that kind of question is not easy. It is apparent that the constitution of a country affects its politics and influences its voting pattern. No one imagined that the “dynamic duo” would openly and without apology play the tribal trump card so openly that it would become a crime to be shameful of tribalism. This fact has changed the politics of the country. A candidate’s popularity, ability and charisma may not be important in Kenyan politics anymore. What matters is how you play the tribal arithmetic to your advantage. If your tribal mobilization happens to have the numbers, then you carry the day as majority have their way however wrong they may be. Does this system impact negatively on democracy? Yes. Does this require a referendum to fix the problem? No. But how do we make the nation more important than the tribe without opening up the constitution to amendments? How do you strengthen the election faculty to ensure that at every election, whoever is elected is seen to be chosen by the whole of Kenya? The answer may be both constitutional and moral.

Flash back to 2007. President Mwai Kibaki wins a heavily disputed election and violence breaks out. A national accord is crafted and the coalition government is established. Kenyans treat Kibaki as their president without prejudice to how he was elected. This was because he did not mobilize his politics around two tribes but threw his net wide while crafting PNU with an express purpose to reflect the face of Kenya. Likewise, in crafting the CORD alliance, Raila Odinga was bent on ensuring the face of Kenya was reflected to ensure acceptability across the board.

What is at stake is not the constitution but the moral principles behind our politics. National values must be upheld and chapter 10 and 13 of the constitution must be reflected in our political mobilization and public service to stem political mischief and protect the national fabric.

The referendum to determine the extent of devolution and sharing of revenue between the two levels of government as proposed by the governors and supported by senate may not be necessary if the current regime is true to the call of devolution as enshrined not only  in the constitution but also in their manifesto. A government that swore to protect the constitution must respect the spirit which informed the writing of that constitution without necessarily being forced by the people to respect it.

The dynamic duo can avoid the agitation for a referendum by realizing that the self-righteousness with which they are handling the whole issue will not wash because it will turn to nasty politics. How they react to the call will determine whether this nation will be in politics or development mode the next four years. Good politics has always been built around ensuring that the rights of those who did not vote for you are protected as much and as equally to those who voted for you. This is a sure way to legitimize an election win even when those who were defeated have doubts whether you actually beat them squarely.

“Dealing With Bad Body Odour”

Lifesstyle_body odourHave you ever had one of those days in a matatu or the office, where you had some stinky guy’s armpit in your face? If you have, then you know that some men can generate a stench that can send a skunk running. Why do some guys have such strong body odour?

 Body odour (B.O.) is a combination of sweat and bacteria. Humans generate apocrine and eccrine sweat. Eccrine sweat is used to lower our temperature, like when we exercise or when it’s really hot. It is produced uniformly all over the body and does not smell.

Apocrine is produced in places like the armpits, groin, hands, and feet. Likewise, it does not smell. But it’s the bacteria on our body that cause all the trouble. These bacteria feed off apocrine sweat and then they do what any living creature on earth does: they defecate. Yes, you guessed it; body odour is the smell of bacteria excrement!


The main reason why people stink is that some don’t bathe enough. But good hygiene doesn’t stop at washing your body; it also includes washing clothes. Certain fabrics, like cotton, easily absorb bad odours.

Some people smell a lot because they perspire more, either because of stress, physical activity or because of a condition known as Hyperhidrosis, which causes excessive sweating.

Stress is more prevalent today. There are higher expectations, tighter schedules, more work, etc., and they all cause an unnatural amount of anxiety on the body, which causes perspiration and, in turn, may make us smell.

Eating certain foods can also affect how you smell. If a food is pungent enough, its smell travels through your body and comes out from your pores. Garlic, cumin and curry are believed to have such properties. Alcohol is also diffused out of your body through your pores.

Zinc deficiency can impart B.O. because it regulates detoxification in the body; it controls how the body handles waste. Likewise, a sugar imbalance and caffeine can alter the amount and type of perspiration.

Health problems
Some odours may indicate health problems. People who smell like nail polish can have diabetes and an ammonia smell is a sign of liver disease.

Why do men tend to smell more often than women?

One of the reasons some men smell more might be because they are more physical and athletic. They also have higher testosterone levels — testosterone influences apocrine sweat production. Then again, some guys stink simply by virtue of poor hygiene; they don’t bathe enough. Men by nature have a tendency to wear clothes that haven’t been washed for a while. Washing clothes is very important when it comes to odour. It doesn’t matter if your body is clean; if you wear clothes soaked in B.O., you will smell like B.O.

Treating body odour

Bathe more
Bathing is a good way to start, and washing your clothes also helps. Showers are better than baths because during a shower, more dirt and bacteria run off the body with the constant flow of water.

Many deodorants only mask body odour, but some products actually fight bacteria. The most effective deodorants contain aluminum or zinc. Both elements are known to fight odour-causing bacteria. Antiperspirants, on the other hand, clog sweat glands, so bacteria have nothing to interact with. Antibacterial soaps also help kill off those nasty pests.

Proper nutrition
Cutting down on alcohol and caffeine reduces B.O. Coffee, cokes, chocolate, and other caffeine elements contribute to odour because they stimulate apocrine sweat glands. Drinking plenty of fluids keeps eccrine sweat glands active; this dilutes apocrine perspiration, which reduces body odour.

Boric acid
One of the best products for treating body odour, and quite possibly the least known, is Boric Acid. It’s relatively cheap and works well. Simply apply it wherever you want to keep smell away after taking a bath. Boric Acid slows down the spreading of bacteria but using too much can irritate the skin.

Other treatments
If the odour doesn’t want to go away, there are products that can treat serious cases of body odour, but they require a prescription. Keep in mind that extreme cases of B.O. are probably caused by some form of fungal infection.

 Hook, line and stinker

If you stink, don’t worry; there are plenty of ways of dealing with the problem. Find out what’s causing your body odour and deal with it accordingly. Don’t be afraid to see a doctor if a stench just doesn’t want to go away. 

“I Think I Am Sex Crazy”

man stressedI am a young man and my problem is I think I am sex crazy!  I can’t stop thinking about it; I want it all the time.  I lose most of my girlfriends because of my excessive demands.  I can’t afford prostitutes, and I don’t know how to curb my urges.  Also I like a girl to struggle so I can overpower her.  One of my girlfriends said this was rape and she was going to report me.  I thought she was just joining in the game, often they mean yes when they say no.  What can you advise me to do? 

– Sex mad Simon


You are not sex mad. Some men, especially young men, do have this problem.  When it rules your life, it is a bad thing.  My first advice is to work off that excess energy by physical labour.  If you are working, get up early and jog all the way to and from work, even if its ten kilometres.  If you are still at school or unemployed, exercise much more.  Try and get a job which requires manual effort, like a construction site where you carry heavy loads. 

Secondly control over one’s emotion is part of growing up – whether it is a bad temper, or sexual desire or anything else.  Adults should not give in to urges that might hurt or damage others, and could cause them problems   You have already come close to a problem when the girl threatened to report you for rape.  This is a criminal offence and these days the courts are handing out severe sentences.  There is a big difference between games and forcing yourself on someone.  Learn the difference. And just so you know, “no” really does mean “no”.  Try and find a girlfriend who enjoys what you enjoy but first she should be someone you like and whose company you appreciate.  That way you will learn to consider girls as people, as companions, and not as sexual objects.  Buying sex is no substitute for a good relationship.  Simon, just learn to manage your life and your emotions — grow up in other words.