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KASIMU: Diversity, inclusion begets sustainable growth

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By PAUL KASIMU

Imagine not being able to hear the chirping of birds, music, a baby’s laughter or waves crashing on the beach. Imagine living in a world of silence; where the only thing you hear is your own thoughts.

This is a reality lived everyday by an estimated 360 million people who are affected by disabling hearing loss, according to the World Health Organisation.

While the WHO says five in every 100 people live with hearing loss globally, it is double that in Kenya.

On Sunday, the world marked the inaugural International Day of Sign Languages as part of celebrations for International Week of the Deaf that began on Monday and ends on Sunday.

Under the theme, ‘With Sign Language, Everyone is Included’, the deaf community are advocating equality of sign languages with spoken ones.

They seek to influence governments to fulfil their obligations to those living with hearing impairments, pushing for greater inclusion and raising awareness of the principle of ‘nothing about us, without us’.

People with disabilities are more likely to be excluded from social and economic decisions and opportunities, exposing them to poorer health, lower education achievements and economic participation and higher rates of poverty than those disabilities.

Barriers to services such as health, education, employment and transport, as well as information, are often higher.

A VSO Kenya and Ministry of Education survey shows performance by primary school pupils with hearing impairment differed sharply with those with hearing.

For lack of access to information, suitable learning materials and special education facilities, they are more likely to do poorly in school not because they are unable to learn but do it in an environment that doesn’t take their needs into account.

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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework against which governments and businesses can reduce inequalities faced by people with disabilities and promote their health and well-being, education and work and economic growth.

Guided by the SDGs, for instance, Safaricom has embraced a robust diversity and inclusion agenda whose near-term target is to increase the number of staff with disabilities from less than two per cent to five per cent by 2020.
There are 100 people living with various forms of disability employed at the company, four of whom have hearing impairments.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore likes to use the phrase, ‘Diversity is being invited to the ball; inclusion is being asked to dance’.

Moreover, Safaricom has put in place inclusive human resource policies that have levelled the playing field at work.

One cannot serve people whose needs one does not understand; and we cannot understand their needs if we do not have them among us to articulate their needs.

By employing people with hearing impairments, the company is able to serve deaf customers via SMS and social media and at the shops, ensuring that they get the same level of service as those without disabilities.

So, you see, diversity and inclusion is not just a nice thing to have; it’s the right thing to do. And, for businesses, it is also the smart thing to do.



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200 homeless families seek Governments’ help to recover their land – KBC

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Hundreds of homeless families in Kinango Sub-county, Kwale County are appealing to the Government to help them repossess their land from a private developer.

The 200 families from Mwamdudu in Bonje area are accusing a private developer of colluding with top Government officials to grab their ancestral land.

Their houses were demolished with the residents saying they couldn’t salvage anything as the demolition caught them unprepared.

They condemned act saying it was inhumane and a violation of their human rights and access to justice.

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Mwamdudu secondary school, a dispensary and a children orphanage were also demolished.

Ramadhan Lewa Kalume a resident in the area dismissed claims that they had entered into a consent with the company associated with the private developer.

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 “I wish to insist that we were never consulted in the sale of the land to the private developer,” he pointed out.

The local resident allege that the demolition exercise was carried out by officers from the General Service Unit [GSU] and not regular police.

Ms. Salama Kenga, a single mother said they are spending nights in the cold with their children and appealed for Government’s intervention.

Mwanahamisi Ramadhan, a 24 years old mother of three said she only managed to rescue her three children including a one day child she had given birth to on the day the demolitions were conducted.

The distraught mother says she is surviving on handouts from well-wishers to feed her young family and is sleeping outside in the cold with her newborn baby.

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PwC lauds ease of Customs tax

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PwC has commended the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) for lifting restrictions on warehousing of goods in Customs bonded warehouses, noting that the action will enhance the competitiveness of Kenya as a global and regional logistics hub.
PWC said the policy will also boost to businesses that utilise Customs bonded warehouses to store goods, defer payment of duties and are involved in regional trade. It however called for consistency in tax law.
“We expect that with Customs having lifted restrictions on warehousing of goods will help contribute to the State’s agenda of reviving the economy in light of the ravages of Covid-19, improve cash flow and stock management for businesses,” said Indirect Taxes Associate Director at PwC Kenya Maurice Mwaniki.
“We expect this will once again enhance the competitiveness of Kenya as a global and regional logistics hub and assist attract inward investment into Kenya.”

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Kenya Revenue Authority

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Kenya: Court Cancels Former Rugby Player Alex Olaba’s Sh300,000 Bail

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Nairobi — A Nairobi Chief Magistrate’s Court has cancelled the Sh300,000 cash bail issued on former rugby player Alex Olaba, after the prosecution said he had committed an offense of conspiracy to murder while he was still face a change of gang rape.

Trial Magistrate Zainab Abdul said the accused committed the offense while he was out on bond and proceeded to threaten the complainant in the case.

Olaba will remain in custody until the two cases are heard and determined. He wull be back in court on June 3 for purposes of taking a hearing date.

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The former Kenya Sevens and Kenya Harlequins player was arrested last month by detectives for allegedly trying to hatch a plot to kill witnesses in the case.

At the same time, the Court has also barred the media from publishing images of the complainant and directed that the matter will be heard in camera.

Olaba was previously charged with Frank wanyama with an offense of gang rape in 2019. They had been found gulty and sentenced to 15 years in jail. They however appealed against the sentence and the same was quashed by the High Court on a technicality.

The duo was later arrested in 2020 and charged afresh

When the matter came up for mention in April 22nd the suspect mulamba did not appear virtually instead he told the court that he was away in Bungoma, but according to the investigating officer he lied to the court he was in Nairobi.

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