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BURINI: Let us treat the deaf with equal respect, all they need is support

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By GLADYS BURINI
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Do you ever notice the interpreter at the bottom of your TV screen or have they become yet another feature accompanying the closed captions?

Have they become like signs, which are everywhere, telling us where to go, what not to touch, what not to do and what the limits are?

But then again, some signs are heavenly; a drifting cloud, a voice from above, or a descending dove. They all tell us something if we look hard enough.

That said, the most distinct signs are from our face; a raised eyebrow, a frown or a sparkle in the eye.

Signs often speaker louder than words can or come in handy where words fail us. There are even languages to accompany these signs; 300 of them.

They are not phonetic with waves and sounds, but are every bit a language as English or your mother tongue. They are sign languages.

For the first time, the world will mark the International Sign Language Day tomorrow under the theme “with sign language everyone is included.”

As human beings we are not easily defeated by our circumstances. We adapt and rise above our challenges.

The deaf among us did not swear off communicating because they could not hear or be understood.

Their mode of communication could not conform to the norm, so they changed it. For all the want in the world, they could not merge with the hearing and be part of a society where they are obviously excluded.

Ingenuously, they created a new language, their own, and this is what we call sign language. Their bodies became their voices.

It is probable that a sign used within the family was acquired and became the sign language of a village.

Gradually the deaf community sign language was adapted by other village communities, leading to the birth of a worldwide language.

Even though they are highly capable we still view the deaf as disabled and thus discriminate against them.

Why? To be so innovative as to create a language and yet be viewed as lesser beings must be perplexing to the deaf.

It must be more perplexing for the children of the deaf, who must rise above and beyond the challenges of their peers to acquire a sign language with which to communicate with their parents.

This, in addition to learning the spoken languages. Their entire childhood, they interpret to their parents while in public events, family gatherings or where there is no accompanying interpreter on the pulpit.

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Such children shouldn’t have to watch their parents suffer from being denied employment simply because their mode of communication differs.

Conversely for the parents of deaf children, they too adapt and learn a new language.

The deaf, whether a child or adult, may be in the minority group of the disabled, but they are a unique lingual group of people worth every commendation.

They are our fellow citizens and what they are in dire need of is support and encouragement.

Reports show that most deaf children score less than 100 marks in their KCPE results. “There is only one PhD deaf graduate, less than eight with a Master’s degree and close to 30 undergraduates,’’ Rose Nyagwoka, the programme officer, Deaf Child Worldwide, said last year.

How then can we be more inclusive of deaf children in our education system? Let’s start with answering the basic questions.

Are nursery schoolteachers taught to spot children with hearing difficulties? Let it not always be assumed deafness only arises from birth.

Sadly, loss of hearing does occur as children grow up. Do we have enough teachers trained in sign language?

If we are to hold true to the theme of “With Sign Language Everyone is Included”, everybody willing to learn should be granted the opportunity.

Do schools cater to the deaf? And how easily accessible is learning of sign language for parents of such children?

These are questions that, if positively checked, will go a long way in empowering the deaf in our country, increasing the quality in their education and eventually translating to the number of graduates.

As we mark the first International Sign Language Day and International Week of the Deaf from Monday, let us work towards inclusivity.

We should all look forward to the day the Cabinet will include a disabilities Cabinet Secretary. A day the Head of State will begin a speech with a greeting in sign language just like they do with other national languages.

A week of the deaf where television presenters will not leave it up to the interpreter, but they too will speak in sign even if just to say hello to their viewers.



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102-year-old contracts Covid-19 as positivity rate doubles – KBC

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The daily Covid-19 positivity rate doubled to 7.5 pc after 469 people Tuesday among them a 102-year old tested positive from a sample size of 6,244 tested in the last 24 hours.

The positivity rate is now 7.5pc up from 3.5pc pushing up the country’s caseload to 166,006 from 1,752,693 cumulative tests conducted so far.

Of the cases, 363 are Kenyans while 106 are foreigners. 280 are males and 189 females. The youngest is a two-year-old baby while the oldest is 102 years.

This time around,  Kisumu recorded the highest number of positive cases at 102, Nairobi 77, Mombasa and Kericho 27 cases each, Siaya and Busia 18 cases each, Meru 17, Kisii 16, Nyeri 14, Kitui 13, Nyamira and Kilifi 12 cases each, Nandi 11, Uasin Gishu 10, Turkana 9, Bungoma and Makueni 8 cases each, Kakamega and  Kiambu 7 cases each, Nakuru and Homa Bay 6 cases each, Murang’a 5, Embu, Laikipia, Machakos and Vihiga 4 cases each, Taita Taveta, Bomet, Kajiado, Trans Nzoia and West Pokot 3 cases each, Kirinyaga, Migori, and Tharaka Nithi 2 cases each, Isiolo and Marsabit 1 case each.

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Health CS Mutahi Kagwe announced eight more deaths in the last 24 hours, three of them having occurred on diverse dates within the last one month while five are late deaths reported after conducting a facility record audit in the last month.

“This now pushes the cumulative fatalities to 3,021. Our sincere condolences to the families and friends who have lost their loved ones” he said in a statement.

43 new recoveries have been reported, 29 from the Home-Based and Isolation Care, while 14 are from various health facilities countrywide.

Total recoveries now stand at 113,917 of whom 82,806 are from Home Based Care and Isolation, while 31,111 are from various health facilities.

A total of 1,039 patients are currently admitted to various health facilities countrywide, while 4,714 patients are on the Home-Based Isolation and Care Program.

108 patients are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 22 of whom are on ventilatory support and 71 on supplemental oxygen. 15 patients are under observation.

Another 91 patients are separately on supplemental oxygen with 87 of them in general wards and 4 in High Dependency Units (HDU).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sentence Jane Muthoni to death, the State urges court in husband murder case

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Jane Muthoni hired men, including her co-accused, to kill her husband Solomon Mwangi in November 2016. [File, Standard]

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) wants Jane Muthoni, who was found guilty of her husband’s murder on April 22, sentenced to death.
Muthoni, alongside her co-accused Isaac Ng’ang’a, was declared guilty of Solomon Mwangi’s murder, which occurred in November 2016.
State Prosecutor Catherine Mwaniki told the Nakuru High Court on Tuesday, May 18 that the crime committed by the two; and the manner in which the murder was executed, “deserves a severe punishment such as death sentence”.
“This is a case that meets the threshold of a death penalty,” said Mwaniki.
“We are looking at the seriousness of the acts that led to Solomon Mwangi’s death. In our conclusion, we pray that this court finds that the element of the statutory premeditation was satisfied in this case,” she submitted.
According to the prosecutor, her team proved beyond any reasonable doubt that there was “substantial orchestration and planning” of Mwangi’s execution by Muthoni and Ng’ang’a.
“Mwangi’s death was not caused by a spontaneous act of violence, or an act of self-defense by the accused,” said Mwaniki, who proposed Muthoni and Ng’ang’a be sentenced to death.
Lawyer Wokabi Mathenge, who represented Solomon Mwangi’s family in the case, reiterated the Prosecution’s recommendation, terming Mwangi’s killing as “Murder Most Foul”.

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“He was defenseless while being killed,” said Mathenge.
The lawyer said Muthoni was yet to express any remorse to Mwangi’s family over his murder.
“The first accused (Muthoni), being a teacher, was expected to impart ethics to learners. In this case, she was the mastermind of her husband’s death. She, therefore, conducted herself in a manner not expected of a person of her stature,” said Mathenge.
According to the lawyer, Mwangi’s murder deprived his four children of fatherly love.
“We urge the court to find that a death sentence will suffice. Mwangi’s death was premeditated and well-planned,” he emphasised.
The accused’s lawyer, Francis Njanja, however defended Muthoni and Ng’ang’a against death sentence, stating the two have cooperated with the courts thus far.
Njanja maintained that even though the courts found the duo guilty of murder, they were “still innocent”.
Muthoni, who addressed the court via video conferencing, pleaded her innocence, saying her family had suffered throughout the period she’s been in custody.
“I’m the only hope and surviving breadwinner in my family. My children are suffering, yet those who killed my husband are out there walking freely,” she said.
Ng’ang’a, on his part, pleaded with the court to consider a lenient sentence on him.
Justice Joel Ngugi said the two persons will be sentenced on June 3, 2021.
How Mwangi’s murder was planned
During the trial, the court heard that in early November 2016, Muthoni hired two men to kill her spouse, the principal of Kiru Boys’ High School in Mathioya, Murang’a County. One of the hired killers was Muthoni’s co-accused, Isaac Ng’ang’a. The other, Nelson Njiru, disappeared shortly after learning that Muthoni and Ng’ang’a were being hunted.
Muthoni had been directed to Ng’ang’a and Njiru by Joseph Kariuki, who turned into a Prosecution witness following a plea negotiation. Kariuki was, however, sentenced to seven years in jail for manslaughter.
Upon arrest in mid-November 2016, Muthoni and Ng’ang’a, alias Gikuyu, were charged with Solomon Mwangi’s murder.
The court, through Kariuki, heard that Muthoni engineered her husband’s killing after he allegedly kick-started a relationship with another woman, identified in court as MWK or M-Pesa Lady. The plan was to eliminate Mwangi’s lover and then kill him, the court was told.
After four years in court, the case came to a close on Thursday, April 22, 2021, when Muthoni and Ng’ang’a were declared guilty of Mwangi’s murder.
“The offence of murder is established against both the first and second accused persons (Muthoni and Ng’ang’a respectively). Consequently, I find and hold that both accused persons are guilty of the murder of the deceased. I hereby convict both of them accordingly,” Justice Ngugi pronounced himself on the case.
In the ruling, the judge observed that Muthoni did not physically kill Mwangi, but “evidence demonstrated that she was the author of the plot”.
Muthoni reportedly parted with Sh50,000 for Mwangi’s killing, which was conducted by Ng’ang’a and another person not before the court Nelson Njiru. The hired killers strangled Mwangi to death on November 6, 2016, and dumped his body in Karakuta Coffee Estate in Juja, Kiambu County.
The court relied on 18 SMSs between Muthoni and Njiru, and 21 Prosecution witnesses to conclude that Muthoni had masterminded her husband’s murder.

Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Poll ranks Muthomi, Waiguru best performing Governors – KBC

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Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki has been ranked the best performing Governor in the Country in an opinion poll by Mizizi Africa.

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Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru ranks second with 79.4% while Nandi Governor Stephen Sang was third with 79%.

The opinion poll conducted in all 47 Counties between March and December 2020 had a sample size of 47,000 respondents.

Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho, Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Ny’ongo, Kiambu Governor James Nyoro and Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja were the other top perfoming Governors.

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Thika Town MP Wainaina Jungle and Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi were ranked the best performing legislators with 65.9% followed by Uriri MP Mark Ogallo with 65.5%, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff with 65.1% to complete the top five best ranked MPs.

In the Counties, Nyeri Speaker John Kaguchia was rated the best with 69.7% while Baringo Speaker Douglas Mbilu was second with 69.6% followed by Embu Speaker Josiah Muriithi with 69.5% and Kwale Speaker Sammy Ruwa with 69.3%.

Biashara Ward MCA Elijah Njoroge, Kinoo Ward MCA Samuel Kimani, Khalaba Ward MCA Majimbo Okumu, Ichagaki Ward MCA Mwangi Ng’ang’a and MUvuti/Kiima Kimwe Ward MCA Caleb Mutiso were the top five best performing Members of the County Assembly.

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