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Kenya’s pros hope to make cut in 2019 after below-par year





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At the beginning of this year, Kenyan golf had two regional trophies in its cabinet at Kenya Golf Union’s Muthaiga Golf Club offices.

The two — the Victoria Cup played annually, on rotational basis between Kenya and Uganda, and the East Africa Challenge Cup — had been clinched the previous year in Uganda and Dar es Salaam, respectively.

While as it was to be expected, Kenya, which hosted the 2018 Victoria Cup on the long-playing Vet Lab Sports Club course, easily retained the cup for the third year in a row by running over the Ugandans under cold conditions.

It was, however, not to be the case in the Challenge Cup staged at the Nyali Golf and Country Club’s par 71 course.

The Nyali tournament attracted players from Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo DRC, Seychelles, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda.

Many expected the Nyali course to favour the hosts because of the fact that a number of the Kenyan players were playing at home course.

Recalling the Vet Lab fiasco, the Ugandans came back strongly against the Kenyans while Tanzania and Rwanda also impressed.

The first round strokeplay was not an issue for the hosts as they easily fought their way to the semis where they met Rwanda.

This, they thought, was a mere formality and an easy passage into the final where they were sure of, once again, meeting Uganda.

But this did not happen as the Kenyan boys either under-rated the Rwandese, or it was a Victoria Cup fatigue. They failed to produce their usual fireworks, leaving the Rwandese to open up big leads which the Kenyans failed to recover, a situation which saw them losing matches they should not have lost.

In the final match between Rwanda and Uganda, the Ugandans, thirsting for the trophy, showed no mercy to the Rwandese whom they easily beat to re-claim the trophy they lost in Dar es Salam Tanzania last year, having kept it from 2014 to 2016. Kenya had to settle for a third place, the nation’s worst finish in the championship.

Since the East Africa Challenge (now Africa Region Four) started in Tanzania in 1999, Kenya has won the cup 13 times.

However, it was not the first time Kenya played badly at Nyali. In 2011, playing as the defending champions of the Africa Zone Six Cup they had won in Gaborone, Botswana, the previous year, performed poorly surrendering the cup back to South Africa.

Kenyan coach Ali Kimani admitted that Kenya did not deserve to lose the cup, especially having humiliated the Ugandans at Vet Lab less than a week earlier.

“Our players took the other teams for granted without realizing the event was now being played in a new format being used by other Africa regions,’’ said Kimani who in 2010 steered Kenya to its first victory in the then Africa Zone Six Championship.
Lack commitment
Kimani says Kenya needs to build a strong team based on a well-trained junior squad.

But, at the same time, Kimani said some of the current crop of amateur golfers lack commitment.
“One has to understand how important it is to play for the country. It is a national duty which players have to take seriously the way the South Africans do.”

But the Nyali loss aside, the poor performance for Kenya’s teams started with the junior team at the All Africa Junior Golf Championship at Royal Dar es Salaam Club in Rabat, Morocco, where despite having some of the most experienced juniors, Kenya once again finished fourth.

While the Junior Golf Foundation (JGF), a project of the Kenya Golf Union (KGU), embarked on serious nationwide talent search programmes under experienced junior coach John van Liefland, it will take some time before Kenya reclaims its past glory not only in the junior section but also in the senior category.


Uganda has over the past one year been able to introduce junior coaching programmes in different parts of the country, hence a strong opposition is likely to come from them and other countries like Rwanda and Mauritius which falls in the Africa Region Four and are likely to play in the 2019 Region Four championship to be hosted by Burundi and the junior championship in Botswana.

In the pro ranks, where no Kenyan team has participated in team events, the burden was once again left to the individual professionals to fly the Kenyan flag in international events. It was not, however, a good start for the local pros, although some showed improvement towards the year.

As usual, action for the pros kicked off with the country’s premier golfing event, the Kenya Open at Muthaiga Golf Club in March, where at stake was 500,000 Euros.

But despite the fact that Kenya had entered what looked like a strong contingent to the Open, the results were probably the worse for the Kenyans in the 50-year history of the Open, both for pros and amateurs.

Only two out of the 26 players who had been listed to play went through past the second round.

But even the two who made the cut — Rizwan Charania and Mohit Mediratta — performed well below par. Charania shot six over par 290 to tie for 69th place while Mediratta was down in 71st place with eight over 292.
And from nowhere, Italy’s winner Lorenzo Gagli produced 11 under par 273, a score which was a shot off Jacob Okello’s 12 under par in 1998 when he lost in a play-off to Argentina’s Ricaldo Gonzalez.
With 11 under, Gagli tied at the with Sweden’s Jens Fahrbring whom he later beat in a sudden death play- off.
Best placed Kenyan
A few Kenyan pros the ventured into a number of events in the Southern Africa’s Sunshine Tour such as the Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mopani Open (Zambia).
But like in the Kenya Open, they did not do anything better than making the cut for a few of them.
With nothing to look forward to, the Kenyan pros had to wait for the Karen Masters which was this year played under the umbrella of the Sunshine Tour.
Again, Kenya had a big entry which saw five of them making the cut. But even here, the best placed Kenyan Dismas Indiza was placed in 33rd after posting one under par 287 with the next to him being Simon Ngige in 44th on one over par 289. Of the remaining three, Stefan Andersen who is a regular player in the Sunshine Tour and who ideally should have played better, came in tying in 53th on five over par 293

South Africa, which provided the bulk of the players, took the top prize via Michael Palmer who posted 18 under par 270.

But thanks to the start of the Kenya Open Golf Limited sponsored Safari Tour, the local pros were able to wind up the year well with Dismas Indiza clinching the Uganda Open in Entebbe where he fired an impressive 10 under par 274.

He followed this with a close second place in the Malawi Open where he fired 291 to finish three shots off the winner, Zimbabwe’s Trinosa Muradzikwa at Lilongwe Golf Club.

Another Kenyan pro, Justus Madoya, finished second behind local player Ernest Ndayisenga on the Rwanda Open where only a handful of Kenyan professionals participated.

Now with the 2019 action for the pros starting early next month, with the remaining two legs of the Safari Tour at Karen and Muthaiga, it is hoped that there will be some good performances by the locals during the 2019 Kenya Open, now a full European Tour event, back at Karen from March 14 to 17.


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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.

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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

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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.

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.


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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