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MPs’ CVs reveal most educated and least schooled

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At least a third of MPs lack bachelor’s degrees. Details that have been made public show a peculiar mad dash for post-secondary qualifications between 2012 and 2017.

This means that up to 116 MPs have either a diploma or a certificate.

The academic qualifications of the 349 members of the National Assembly published on Parliament’s official website show some lawmakers with certificates enrolled for and graduated with bachelor’s degrees.

The law that required MPs to have a degree was shelved in 2017 and will come into force in 2022.

The law proposed by the electoral commission and passed in 2016 required aspirants for MP and Senate seats in 2017 to have a degree, just like their governor counterparts.

It also proposed that MCA aspirants hold a diploma to run in the 2017 election and a degree for the 2022 polls.

Currently the law requires the President, deputy president, governors and deputy governors to hold a degree but is silent on the other elective seats.

In 2016 the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution said in its final report that MCAs’ low academic qualifications were to blame for the poor laws they made.

The details published for the first time yesterday show most MPs bypassed acquiring a diploma and enrolled for degree courses in overseas universities with questionable reputations.

Before they were sworn in, MPs were asked to provide their CVs to enable Parliament establish a database of their qualifications. This was seen as a bold step by MPs to open up for public scrutiny.

The data, aimed at enabling voters to know their leaders, show some lawmakers who finished high school in the early 1990s developed a sudden appetite for higher education in the run-up to the last two general elections.

According to the data, about 10 lawmakers are enrolled for PhD courses, while most are pursuing their master’s degrees.

Read: Top politicians with ‘questionable’ academic papers

Former Kenyatta University don Prof Zadoc Ogutu (Bomachoge Boragu), Siaya woman representative Christine Ombaka, Nandi’s Tecla Tum, Tigania West MP Mutunga Kanyutha, Kitui Central MP Makau Mulu, Rangwe MP Lilian Gogo and Migori woman representative Pamela Ochieng are among the few MPs with PhDs.

Malulu Injendi (Malava), Korei ole Lemein (Narok South) and Wilson Kipngetich (Chesumei) are pursuing PhD degrees.

Ruiru MP Kingara Ngang’a, nominated MP Ibrahim Sahal and Kajiado woman representative Teyia Janet are among the MPs with certificates.

Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati, Jane Wanjuki of Embu, Alfa Miruka of Bomachoge Chache and Geoffrey Omuse of Teso South hold diplomas.

Most of the certificates were acquired in the run-up to the 2013 and 2017 general elections, when most aspirants faced the possibility of being locked out by the IEBC for lack of academic papers.

Most politicians enrolled in local colleges and some universities in Uganda.

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The IEBC, then led by Issack Hassan, had drafted far-reaching proposals to raise the bar of qualifications for aspiring lawmakers. However the push was foiled in Parliament, paving the way for non-graduates to run for election.

The IEBC proposal followed concerns over the low quality of legislation that was being churned out by Parliament, with governance experts arguing that better academic grades would enhance lawmakers’ capacity.

Proponents of higher qualifications for MPs argued that MPs without relatively higher qualifications would not have the requisite intellectual capacity to go about their legislative, oversight and representation roles.

Read: [VIDEO] MPs seek to push back degree condition to 2022

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission had in 2011 made sweeping proposals to the Elections Act to make it mandatory for MPs and MCAs to have degrees in the 2013 general election.

However, MPs successfully lobbied then President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to suspend the enactment of the law until after the 11th Parliament.

MPs in the tenth Parliament changed the law at the last minute before going to the polls and lowered the academic requirements, exempting candidates for both Houses of Parliament and county assemblies from holding degrees.

Some of them were serving their third term but had not gone past secondary school or primary school.

Then Minority Whip Thomas Mwadeghu argued that MPs needed higher qualifications to be effective in performing their roles.

“As the country develops, it would be good to have MPs who are more conversant with complex issues, who have a wide scope of world affairs. I don’t know any other way of achieving this but the intention is not to cast aspersion on anybody,” he said after claims emerged that some long-serving members argued they would be disadvantaged.

The provision was dropped and MPs and MCAs were only required to produce any post-secondary certificate earned after studying for at least three months.

In the run-up to the 2017 polls, MPs voted to provide for a transitional clause in the Elections Act to make it mandatory for those seeking the positions in 2022 to have degrees.

During the special sitting in December 2016 Majority leader Aden Duale said the new amendments would give members at least five years to go back to school.

MPs passed the amendment without any debate. They amended the law to also make it mandatory for aspirants for member of county assembly (MCA) to hold degrees.

Read: IEBC proposes degrees for MPs, diplomas for MCAs in 2017 poll

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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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