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Detectives hunt for Jacque Maribe

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By ERIC WAINAINA
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By MARY WAMBUI
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Detectives were last evening looking for television journalist Jacque Maribe as investigations into the murder of a woman last week in Nairobi’s Kilimani neighbourhood gathered steam.

Ms Maribe is the fiancée of Mr Joseph Irungu, the prime suspect in the killing of 28-year-old businesswoman Monica Kimani, who was found dead in her apartment last week. Her throat had been slit and her hands bound together.

Mr Kuria was arraigned in Kiambu on Wednesday and detained for 10 more days at Muthaiga Police Station. In his statement he said he had been with Ms Maribe on the night of Ms Kimani was murdered. Police are looking for the journalist to corroborate the alibi of her boyfriend.

Detectives on Wednesday visited her house in Lang’ata but did not find her. She also did not pick calls and colleagues at work said she was last seen in office on Tuesday.

Investigators believe that Mr Irungu might have faked a gunshot wound on his left shoulder to conceal the truth about the murder. He was arrested on Tuesday morning after preliminary investigations linked him to the murder, but claimed that he was attacked by gunmen on Friday morning after he dropped off Ms Maribe at her residence.

But police are questioning his narrtive, saying they suspect the wound may have been occasioned by a struggle with the dead woman. The incident occured on September 1, at Limuru Gardens Apartment in Kilimani, Nairobi.

Lead investigator Maxwell Otieno Wednesday said that at the end of the investigation, it may turn out that the wound was not inflicted by a bullet but by “other weapons”.

“Part of what we want to establish is about (Irungu’s) wound so that it may be known whether it’s a gunshot wound or it’s a wound that may have been inflicted by any other weapon (sic). I am saying that because preliminarily, it is suspected that the same (wound) may turn out not to be a gunshot wound at the end of the investigations,” Mr Otieno told Kiambu Senior Principal Magistrate Stella Atambo.

The magistrate Wednesday evening ordered Mr Irungu remanded for 10 days to facilitate further investigations. The court also ruled that he be taken to hospital.

The suspect, who was arrested in Lang’ata, told the police that after the shooting, he returned to Ms Maribe’s house, and was taken to Nairobi West Hospital.

In his statement, Mr Irungu said he went to Lang’ata Hospital for treatment the same evening, and that he was admitted until Monday morning.

But through his lawyers, Mr Sam Nyaberi, Mr Lawrence Mbaabu and Mr Mugambi Laichena, Mr Irungu said that he had sought treatment at Kijabe Hospital, which is 65 kilometres from Nairobi.

The wound was discussed extensively during the court session, since the defence had used it as the main argument to have the hearing of the police application deferred until Mr Irungu was treated, a position that Magistrate Atambo rejected.

Mr Nyaberi told the court that since his arrest, the suspect was yet to get any form of treatment or medication despite being in great pain.

According to Mr Nyaberi, doctors have already cautioned that if he does not get specialised treatment urgently, he risks having his arm amputated.

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Ms Nyawira was murdered and her body placed inside a bathtub with her hands tied together, her mouth sealed with adhesive tape and her throat slit. Detectives said their leads so far have only linked Mr Irungu to the murder.

Mr Otieno said preliminary investigations had established that the suspect was in the vicinity of the scene of crime, a line which they are pursuing as well as analysing data from a mobile service provider to establish his movements during the time of the incident.

The deceased’s car and mobile phone have been confiscated with a view to conducting further forensic analysis in connection with the murder. A preliminary investigation indicated that both the car and the deceased’s phone were at the scene of the incident.

Several witnesses have positively identified Mr Irungu as having been at the woman’s house on the night of the murder through an identification parade conducted at Kilimani Police Station on September 25. The investigation is expected to be extended to South Sudan were Ms Nyawira is said to have returned from on the fateful day.

Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Jacinta Nyamosi said that detectives would interview and record statements of witnesses believed to have crucial information regarding the Ms Nyawira’s activities in South Sudan.

Police were apprehensive that, should the suspect be released “there is a high likelihood that he will interfere with the investigations’’, having been identified to have been in the victim’s house on the fateful night.

The investigating team also intends to interview and record statements from several witnesses, some of whom are friends and immediate neighbours of the suspect.

Preliminary investigations have also established that Mr Irungu frequently visits the Middle East, where he has worked for private security company, and police believe that he might be a flight risk should he be released before investigations are completed.

Speaking at their home in Landless Estate, Thika, Ms Kimani’s family said that the two began communicating on social media before they finally met recently at Westlands, Nairobi.

Ms Kimani’s brother, Mr George Thiru Kimani, revealed that his sister had informed him that the man was interested in having an affair with her, but she was reluctant as she did not know him well and also because she was in another relationship.

“The two were mutual friends and mostly communicated on Facebook and through Instagram. There was nothing intimate; Irungu admired my sister but she did not take him seriously as she had a boyfriend,” said Mr Kimani.

He also revealed that he and Mr Irungu were students at Kenya Polytechnic University, where they shared a class but since they graduated they only met once again recently.

“From social media, I could tell he went to work in Dubai as I worked in South Sudan,” added Mr Kimani.

He said he learnt of Mr Irungu’s possible link to the murder when someone called to inform him that he had been arrested.

Mr Kimani said he went to sister’s house and found body lying in the bath tub. Her undergarments had also been partly torn an indication that she might have been raped before she was murdered.

The deceased’s father, Bishop Paul Ngarama, of the Rebuilding Apostolic Mission Church, described his daughter as a “morally upright and hard-working child who bore no grudge with anyone”.

He said he was hopeful that justice would be done.



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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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