More than 20 MPs from Coast region allied to the National Super Alliance (NASA) Friday accompanied Deputy President William Ruto during the launch of the construction work on the Sh 2.3 billion Baricho Bridge and approach roads along River Sabaki in Kilifi County.
The leaders also addressed wananchi in Shomani secondary school grounds in Malindi constituency before the Deputy President launched the Nyali constituency lighting program in Mombasa County.
The legislators said they have resolved to unite and work with Mr Ruto and the Government in addressing the challenges facing coastal residents.
They were Suleiman Dori (Msamweni), Ali wario(Bura) Hashaka Wario (Garsen) Owen Baya (Kilifi North) Senator Juma Wario (TanaRiver) Said Haribae (Golale), Senator Anuar Toitiptip (Lamu), Badi Twalib(Jomvu), Stanley Muthama (Lamu West), Danson Mwashako (Wundanyi) and Mohammed Ali (Nyali).
Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 22163
Others were Benjamin Tayari (Kinango) nominatedSenator Christine Zawadi, Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Shariff Ali (LamuEast) Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Lydia Haika (Taita Taveta), Michel Kingi (Magarini) and Gertrude Mbeyu (Kilifi).
Former MPs Gideon Mungaro and Mustapha Idd were also present.
The MPs two of whom (Ms Jumwa and Mr Dori) have been issued with summons by their party- ODM to explain their decision to work with Mr Ruto dismissed the supposed disciplinary action as a red herring.
Ms Jumwa and Mr Dori said they would not be cowed in supporting Mr Ruto.
The MPs said their quest to tackle the problems facing their people would not be derailed by individuals hell-bent on intimidating them.
Mr Dori said Coast leaders would not be silenced in their calls for a united coast region with the aim of solving problems facing their residents collectively.
He asked Opposition leaders to stop threatening them because of their decision to work with Government, saying the Building Bridges Initiative has supported their move.
“Let us stop these intimidations. Let us find ways of uniting the people of the Coast and work with the Government. We do not want to be left behind again,” said Mr Dori.
Mr Ruto said the bridge project is part of the Jubilee administration’s pledges to the people of Kilifi during the last general election.
He said the project upon completion would connect residents of Magarini and Malindi constituencies who have under gone untold nightmare over transportation challenges.
“The construction of this bridge is part of our efforts to initiate projects that have direct impact on the lives of Kenyans, “said Mr Ruto during the launch of the project.
The bridge, which would be completed in three years, will be capped by 12 kilometers of roads on each side-Lango Baya and Baricho.
Mr Ruto who is on his second-day-development tour of Coast region said time for political competition was over, urging leaders to now focus their energies on matters of development so as to transform the lives of Kenyans.
“We should now focus our energies on the construction of roads, provision of health, education, connection of electricity among other development projects,” said Mr Ruto.
The Deputy President said the Government will work with all leaders irrespective of their political affiliations.
He said political, religious and regional differences should not be used to divide Kenyans.
“The Government under the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta and I is the Government of all Kenyans. It will serve those who voted for us and those who did not vote for us,” said Mr Ruto.
“We were elected on different political parties but we have decided we will not be separated by boundaries of regions, political parties or religious faith. We will not discriminate anyone,” he added.
At the same time, Mr Ruto told his competitors not to worry that he had began the 2022 campaigns too early, saying he was only performing his duties as the Deputy President.
“Some leaders should stop being worried. We are here for development, as the time for politics will come. Let’s focus our energies on development,” he said.
The Deputy President said he would distribute 25, 000 title deeds this weekend at the Coast, a move aimed at solving the land problems in the region.
Ms Jumwa said she would continue to work with the Government in exploring ways of solving problems facing Malindi residents despite opposition from her political party.
She said the construction of the bridge would greatly help the people access markets outside the area, saying farm produce have in most cases gone to waste because of transportation problems.
“Residents here have had problems with crocodiles, hippos and fierce water while crossing this river. This is why we are grateful that the Government has acted swiftly to help us solve this problem,” said Ms Jumwa.
Garsen MP Wario said coast leaders have decided to set aside their political differences and serve the people as a team.
“As you can see we were elected in different political parties but were are here with Mr Ruto because of development,” said Mr Wario.
Senator Wario appealed to the people of the coast to shun political party politics and their love for political parties and focus on development that will transform the region.
“We are past the politics of emotions we are engaging in politics of development. Let us shun political theatrics,” said Senator Wario.
Mr Mungaro said the Ministry of Lands was working towards finding lasting solutions to the land problem in the region.
“We will ensure the land problem is not a campaign agenda at the coast come the year 2022,” said Mr Mungaro.
Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard
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.
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.
Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard
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
Drastic life changes affecting mental health
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.
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.
Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 20153
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.
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.