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Irungu ‘shot self’ in Maribe bedroom

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By BERNARD MWINZI
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Mr Joseph Irungu, the prime suspect in the horror killing of a woman in Nairobi two weeks ago, shot himself inside his fiancée Jacque Maribe’s bedroom, investigators now believe.

The bullet punched a small hole in his chest, exited through his back, and ricocheted off Ms Maribe’s bedroom wall.

Investigators on Saturday found a wheat flour patch over the hole in the wall while the weapon was found hidden in the ceiling of a neighbour, who has since been arrested.

It is not clear whether Mr Irungu wanted to commit suicide or lay a false trail, but detectives suspect a strong link between the murder of Ms Monica Kimani in her Kilimani apartment and the self-inflicted gunshot wound on Mr Irungu hours later on the other side of Nairobi, in Lang’ata.

Mr Irungu, his fiancée Ms Maribe, and their mutual friend Brian Kassaine, in whose house the gun was found, are in police custody.

Mr Irungu was arraigned in a Kiambu court last week while Ms Maribe — a celebrated news anchor and reporter at Royal Media Services’ Citizen Television — and Mr Kassaine are expected in court this morning.

A government source told the Nation on Sunday that detectives are reviewing Mr Irungu’s movements around the city using CCTV footage from major roads and his mobile phone signals on the night Ms Kimani was killed.

This, the source added, will be cross-referenced with his statement to the police for any inconsistencies on his alibi.

At 7.05pm on Friday, September 21, Mr Irungu, in the company of Ms Maribe and Mr Kassaine, walked to the report desk at Lang’ata Police Station located about 200 metres from his residence, and told officers that he had been attacked by gunmen as he drove out of Ms Maribe’s residence at 1:30am the previous night, about 19 hours earlier.

The attackers, he claimed, had escaped on foot. He said he alerted Mr Kassaine after he was shot, who rushed him to hospital.

Guards at the estate have said they did not hear any gunshot or commotion on the night Mr Irungu says he was attacked.

Police officers, too, did not believe his statement as it had many circumstantial gaps.

“When he was asked to produce the clothes he wore during the shooting, he did not,” an officer in the investigating team told the Nation.

“The car he was driving, a Toyota Allion, registration KCA 031E, had no bullet hole, and there were just too many contradictions in his story.”

Earlier, police officers had found a live bullet under Ms Maribe’s bed, and the plot thickened when, in his statement, Mr Irungu said the bullet may have been from his friend Kassaine’s gun, which, he added, he used to service from time to time.

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Police searched Mr Kassaine’s house and found a gun, live bullets in a magazine, and a spent cartridge believed to be from the day Mr Irungu shot himself, hidden in the ceiling.

None of the three, police established, is licensed to carry a civilian firearm.

“The contradictions in their statements and the fact that Ms Maribe may have cleaned the house and burnt the clothes make us believe she is an accessory to murder,” a police source said.

Police said if she lied to the authorities in order to cover up wrongdoing, then she is at risk of serious criminal charges.

The drama surrounding Mr Irungu and his fiancée started on Wednesday, September 19 this year, when the man who passes himself off as a security guard knocked on Ms Kimani’s Kilimani apartment door.

Ms Monica, whom Mr Irungu is said to have dated earlier, had just flown in from Juba, South Sudan, and was in the company of two men when Mr Irungu walked in.

Detectives believe two men left the apartment at around 11pm, giving Mr Irungu and Ms Monica, whom they said looked quite familiar and comfortable with each other, time and space to catch up. A few hours later, Ms Kimani lay in her bathtub, dead.

Police sources said Ms Kimani seemed to have been killed by a professional assassin. Her hands were tied at the back and her mouth taped shut.

Her feet, too, were tied together, meaning she could not escape, defend herself, or shout for help.

The assassin then expertly slit her throat from ear to ear and dumped her body in her bathtub.

The following day, on Thursday, as news about Ms Kimani’s horror killing spread, investigators started closing in on the suspects.

After Mr Irungu shot himself, detectives believe, he and Ms Maribe then called Mr Kassaine, who lives next door — Ms Maribe lives in House number 626 of Royal Park Estate, Lang’ata, while Mr Kassaine’s is number 620 — and gave him the gun.

Mr Kassaine then hid the pistol, bullets and the spent cartridge in his ceiling.

Police said the gun is not registered, and that neither Mr Kassaine nor Mr Irungu, who has been providing bodyguard services to senior politicians, is a licensed gun holder.

Police are still combing several residential houses in the city where the key suspect has lived, among them a house in Buru Buru Phase 2’s Laset Court, where he lived with three other men.

The three, police say, have not been seen in the neighbourhood since Mr Irungu’s arrest.



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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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