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Bad weather, poor sponsorship put damper to local rally season

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By ABDUL SIDI
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Inclement weather and lack of corporate sponsorship wreaked havoc in the ranks of organizers of the 2018 Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC).

Several KNRC events had to be rescheduled because of heavy rains that swept across the nation, although organizing clubs made efforts to ensure all eight rounds of the series were, finally, run.

Lack of solid sponsorship for the KNRC also saw the decline in the entries for most of the calendar competitions.

The national motorsports governing body, Kenya Motor Sports Federation (KMSF), is yet to seek a replacement since Kenya Commercial Bank stepped down last year as title sponsors after an association that lasted for nearly 15 years.

Entry fees shot up to almost Sh50,000 from the initial figure of Sh12,000, which included third-party insurance for the each of the crews competing in the KNRC series.

This year’s Guru Nanak Rally, which offered the cheapest entry fee of Sh15,000, attracted the largest number of entries, namely 26 cars.

The rest of the events attracted less than 20.

It was a major drop considering what each rally used to attract in the past, between 50 and 70 cars.

However, despite the difficulties, certain drivers kept the momentum going and fans came in large number as rallying spread across the nation from as far as Kisumu to Mombasa providing good entertainment.

Carl Tundo and Tim Jessop were the stars of the 2018 KNRC season after winning a historic fifth Safari Rally crown and fourth overall KNRC title.

Tundo, 45, started rallying in 1999 an in addition to the big achievements of 2018, he and Jessop also won the Guru Nanak Rally for a record fifth time.

Relative newcomers Eric Bengi and Tuta Mionki also performed incredibly well to finish in the top positions among the more established drivers.

Bengi won the Division One class followed by Jasmeet Chana and Mahesh Halai. Mionki won the Division One navigators title followed by Ravi Chana and Ketan Halai.

Mombasa-based driver Sohanjeet Puee and his navigator Adnan Din clinched the Division Two drivers’ and navigators’ titles.

They were followed by Amaar Haq/Victor Okundi and Paras Pandya/Falgun Bhojak respectively.

Bengi and Mionki also won the Group N Class.

Nikhil Sachania, the sole handicapped driver in the KNRC, won the SPV Class in the KNRC series, a category for modified rally cars used especially by handicapped drivers.

Despite his inability to use part of his lower body after an accident about seven years ago, Sachania has gone on to compete against able-bodied drivers without any fuss.

He was involved in an accident during a training session on a quad bike seven years ago.

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“At the time, I was just 23 years old and relatively new to the competitive sport. The nasty incident happened on a circuit within the Portland Cement grounds in Athi River. I was rushed to the Nairobi Hospital in a saloon car as there was no ambulance ready,” he recalls.

After a few days in the Nairobi hospital, the family decided to fly him to India for further operation and rehabilitation. He spent six months in the hospital before flying back home.

After one year of recuperating, he decided to venture into rallying by looking for a suitable, modified machine.

Manvir Baryan won the 2018 African Rally Championship for the second year running, while Baldev Chager closed the season with victory in the Mini Classic Rally organized by the East African Safari Classic Rally.

Off the roads, preparations for the 2019 Safari Rally, which will be a candidate event for a future World Rally Championship (WRC) status, are going on as officials prepare the event to be held in July next year as round five of the eight-round KNRC season.

A team of officials from Kenya were to countries hosting this year’s WRC to try and lure teams and drivers to visit the 2019 Safari Rally.

There will be seven African Rally Championship rounds next season starting Ivory Coast, South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

The 2019 KNRC series will have eight rounds: Rift Valley Motor Sports Club (Nakuru) x2, Kenya Motor Sports Club (Nairobi), Western Kenya Motor Club (Eldoret), Safari Rally, Nanyuki Rally Group (Nanyuki), Rallye Sports Club (Nairobi) and Simba Union Club (Nairobi).

Meanwhile, a few changes were made in the rules governing the sport.
The International Automobile federation (FIA) Rallies Commission, in conjunction with the Motor Sports Council of the KMSF, introduced a new class in the 2018 KNRC series.

Attention was drawn to all competitors wishing to migrate to the B13 Class that these cars are not be permitted in any FIA sanctioned events

Baldev Chager’s Mitsubishi Evolution10 was among those affected in the B13 Class cars. The rest were that of Ian Duncan, Tundo, Tejveer Rai and Aakif Virani.

The new Class B13 is in specific reference to the introduction of the sequential gearbox to be permitted in cars entered under Group B13

Among the major changes involved the transmission of the rally cars. The gear lever must be fixed on the floor or on the steering column and can be adjustable. If fixed on the steering column the link between the gear lever and the gearbox must not be rigid.

Modifications to the bodywork for the passage of the new gearshift control are authorized only if they are not in contradiction with other points of these regulations. Gear changes must be made mechanically.



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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