Connect with us

General

Legal, logistic hurdles likely to affect 2019 census

Published

on

Loading...

[ad_1]

By GAKUU MATHENGE
More by this Author

Politics and turf wars between State departments, coupled with outdated laws have cast doubt whether the 2019 national population census will be held according to schedule.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Act (2006) is yet to be aligned with the Kenya Constitution 2010, while technical preparations, the procurement of digital equipment and training of personnel for the exercise scheduled for next August are yet to begin.

Next year’s census is billed as the biggest in the country’s history in terms of budget and staff. It is expected to cost Sh18.5 billion and employ over 200,000 personnel.

Staff allowances and the acquisition of 165,000 mobile telephones to be installed with special data capture and transmission software to replace the traditional paper questionnaires are expected to consume the bulk of the money.

The census is expected to exorcise the demons of the 1999 and 2009 disputed results, which have been used for planning and resource-allocation policies, a perennial source of political disputes over perceived lopsidedness.

The first ever digital census using tablets that transmit data to a central database as they are captured in the field on census night will eliminate human data entry, suspected to have been responsible for errors during information entry from questionnaires into computers.

Political skulduggery in Parliament and the Judiciary have stalled efforts to update the KNBS Act (2006) since 2010, making it difficult to resolve disputes over the allocation of billions of shillings of devolved funds every year since 2013.

Turf wars between the State departments of Interior and the National Treasury over who controls the Sh18.5 billion census budget has stalled the procurement of 165,000 smart phones, software and the recruitment and training of personnel.

The last census, held in August 2009, cost Sh8.5 billion, while the results for one held in 1999 were never officially released.

Loading...

Some Sh8 billion of the Sh18.5 billion had been earmarked for personnel recruitment, training and allowances, and some Sh3 billion for smartphones fitted with special software.

“The timelines to meet the August deadline are as good as burst, unless some contingent revised timelines are worked out. Initial planning had factored some six months for tendering and supply of smart phones, testing and training of users, which is yet to happen.

“The minimum timelines for advertisement for supply tenders for various items and services, evaluation, awards, dispute resolutions, actual procurement and deployment had been estimated to take about 15 months. We are out of time,” a source said.

The 2009 census had 6,000 senior supervisors, 22,000 supervisors, 115,000 enumerators, 100,000 village elders, and 45,000 security personnel.

The source said even if the government were to resort to single or direct sourcing to bypass the tedious Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Act in order to meet deadlines, the ongoing anti-corruption purge revolving around flouting of procurement laws would make the civil servants involved hesitant.

“Single sourcing has become a no-go zone for many actors in public procurement. It is extremely unpopular in the current environment of anti-corruption crackdown,” the source said.

KNBS Director-General Zachary Mwangi, however, assured that his department is determined to complete procurement by May next year and recruitment and training by July, for “the most accurate and quality population census”.

“There is no cause for alarm. People should worry only if we do not have the equipment ready by May,” he said, adding that the cartographic mapping of villages in all the 47 counties had been done.

But he conceded that the process of aligning the KNBS Act (2006) with the 2010 Constitution, which began in 2012, is long overdue, although he is confident that Parliament will expedite it when the House resumes business after the Christmas break.



[ad_2]

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

Published

on

Loading...

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.

Loading...

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.

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

Published

on

Loading...

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

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

Drastic life changes affecting mental health

Published

on

Loading...

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.

Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 20153

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.

Loading...

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.

Loading...
Continue Reading

Trending