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Kenyans celebrate Christmas amid tight security

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By NATION TEAM
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Kenyans on Tuesday thronged various holiday destinations to celebrate Christmas, as police announced tight security measures.

Revellers flocked Mombasa to celebrate Christmas as security agencies remained vigilant.

Churches, shopping malls, public beaches and government installations remained under tight security, with more police officers in uniform and civilian clothes manning the critical facilities.

Business was booming at public beaches as hawkers made a kill selling swimming costumes and inflatable tubes.

Poa Place in Eldoret town

Families having fun at Poa Place in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County on Christmas Day, December 25, 2018. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Bombolulu, Bamburi and Majaoni areas Mnazi drinking dens were full as revelers enjoyed traditional brew.

Similarly, several entertainment joints in Mombasa especially in Bamburi-Mtambo area were packed with revellers who were on a party mood.

The holidaymakers also thronged the Mama Ngina Drive where county government had organised an event which was graced by Tanzanian singer Diamon Platnumz and his Wasafi team of musicians.

Jomo Kenyatta public beach

Kenyans on holiday at the Jomo Kenyatta public beach at the Coast on December 24, 2018. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Tana River, Christmas celebrations were low key as people travelled out of the county.

Some hotels counted losses while others remained closed. 

“We had expected people to turn up today but unfortunately they have not, we will have to either give away food or throw away. It is a great loss,” said Frankline Wambua, a hotel manager.

While the hotels suffered losses, bars and pub ownera reaped big as their premises were packed with revellers.

Children having fun

Children having fun at the Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground in Kisumu on December 24, 2018 ahead of Christmas celebrations. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Hola City Bar and Restaurant ran out of drinks leaving clients to scout for other joints.

Other pubs like Friends Motel and Tana Breeze also saw a huge turn up of clients, that they ran out of sitting spaces.

In Nakuru Nyandarua, Narok and Laikipia counties people thronged various entertainment places and churches to celebrate Christmas.

Many residents in Nakuru town went to various entertainment joints to enjoy the themselves and others gathered in churches for prayers.

The African Cultural Choir

The African Cultural Choir singing at the Galleria, Nairobi on December 23, 2018. The choir entertained their audience with a variety of Christmas carols. PHOTO | ANTHONY NJAGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Security was tight around the county as police officers patrolled the areas to deter criminal activities.

Most streets in the town centre remained deserted.

In churches messages of peace, love and unity dominated sermons as church leaders urged residents to take advantage of the handshake between opposition leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta to co-exist harmoniously.

At Christ the King Catholic Church in Nakuru, the congregation was asked to share with the less privileged during the festive season. The service was led by Bishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba.

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Rachel Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto’s wife Rachel (2nd right) during distribution food to residents of Turbo Constituency in Uasin Gishu County at her home in Sugoi on December 24, 2018. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama hosted hundreds of his constituents at his home for Christmas.

The lawmaker used the forum to defend Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i over his stand on procurement of police uniforms.

“I laud the CS for stopping some cartels which wanted to influence government tenders to import police uniforms,” said Mr Arama.

The MP who was accompanied by a host of other Kisii leaders endorsed Dr Matiang’i for the presidential seat in the 2022 election.

Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama

Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama (right) serves his constituents with food at his home in London Estate on December 25, 2018 when he hosted them for Christmas Day. PHOTO | AYUB MUIYURO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Six babies were born on Christmas Eve at the recently opened ‘Margaret Kenyatta Mother Baby Wing’ at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital among them three boys and three girls.

Nurse-in-charge Jackline Kiguru said all the deliveries were without complications.

Uhuru Park in Nairobi

A family riding a boat at Uhuru Park in Nairobi on December 25, 2018. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Naivasha, dozens of holidaymakers, including international tourists, flooded resorts, hotels and beaches including the Great Rift Valley Lodge, newly established Lake Naivasha Resort and the Enashipai Resort and Spa among others to celebrate Christmas.

The General Manager of Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort, Gregory Wabuge, said business was good, compared to last year when the country was rocked in election uncertainties.

“We are recording booming business. We appreciate the spirit of handshake between opposition leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta,”said Mr Wabuge.

Lake Naivasha

A family enjoys a boat ride in Lake Naivasha on Christmas day. PHOTO | MACHARIA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Enashipai Resort and Spa Marketing Director Wanjeri Mahiti said they had also recorded good business on Christmas Day.

The downgrading of Naivasha town’s status made it lose its competitive edge but things look good according to stakeholders after the local government intervened and revived interest to rejuvenate the industry, as several of its facilities were named some of the best ‘getaways’.

In Narok, the Maasai Mara Game Reserve was teeming with local and foreign tourists. They packed lodges and tented camps.

Christmas at Uhuru Park

Nairobians thronged Uhuru Park on Christmas day on December 25, 2018 to celebrate with their families and loved ones. They were treated to various forms of entertainment. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Nyandarua hundreds of worshippers flocked various churches for fellowship, with most expressing optimism about the coming year.

As some families were celebrating the holiday in their own way, food traders opened their stalls in anticipation of increased sales.

Reporting by Eric Matara, Macharia Mwangi, John Njoroge, Steve Njuguna, Philip Muyanga, Mohamed Ahmed and Stephen Oduor



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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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