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Post-truth era: Who shot Tundu Lissu?

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By JENERALI ULIMWENGU
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It has been dubbed the post-truth era, when it does not matter whether you tell the truth or lies, as what matters is what works. What matters now is the repetition of emotional/ideological mantras and assertions that refuse to yield to factual corrections.

The most visible proponent of this practice is, of course, Donald Trump, who even refuses to read a picture that shows how small the crowd at his inauguration was compared with that of his predecessor. Even his spokesperson called that barefaced lie “alternative fact.”

Trump went to call his bungled effort to help Puerto Rico after a storm hit that island “an incredible unsung success” and he is still refusing to accept that almost 3,000 people died in that catastrophe.

But he is only the chief of the lying brigades; his Indians are to be found strewn all over the world.

A couple of weeks ago, a Tanzanian minister, a former law professor, was addressing Tanzanian residents in the state of Washington, and he was asked why, after a whole year, his government had failed to arrest anyone in connection with the shooting of a leading opponent of the government.

To keep his job, the professor could have danced, bobbed and weaved, ducking the question like a boxer ducks an oncoming jab. But no, he was not one for cheap evasion; after all, he is a professor, and his job is to … er, profess. So he goes and gets his red herring from the US, right where he was standing, and tells a huge lie.

He tells his audience– I am paraphrasing – that the investigations are still continuing and such matters do take time. You see, even in the US, where you are right now, they have not been able to solve the assassinations of two presidents, though they are much more advanced than us technologically! And I am like, seriously?

Look, nobody was ever trying to liken the shooting of Tundu Lissu to the shooting of any American president; they just wanted to know what the government had done to catch Lissu’s assailants, and the don went off on a tangent.

What is more, five American presidents were shot, not two, and only one survived. Third, all the five assailants and their co-conspirators were caught and dealt with.

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Fourth, when the American presidents were shot, CCTV technology had not arrived in America, whereas Lissu was attacked at a house with a 24/7 surveillance system, apart from human guards, but not even a grainy picture has been released from the scene.

Then we go to Uganda where Bobi Wine, the young musician who has become the surprising nemesis of Yoweri Museveni, the former revolutionary turned despot, is badly tortured, and has to travel to the US for treatment.

This is of course a serious indictment of Museveni and his regime, so a minister comes up with an interesting explanation. In effect, the minister – who, I suppose, must have attended some school or the other – tries his hand at some English, by stating that the young man was “only beaten” but not tortured.

It looks like our despots are creating a new lexicon by which they will rule us: We can beat you up and break every bone in your body; we can beat you up till you are crippled, deaf and blind, but do not dare call it torture, for torture is a specialised discipline.

In post-truth times, dictionaries are obsolete, words do not necessarily mean what they say, and when you have military power, you can say black is white and the populace will applaud you.

The alternative to applauding the chief is usually very costly, and it is better to use your hands to clap than to have them cut off.

There is a Faustian compact that a lot of our erstwhile thinkers enter into when they are invited to join African governments. It consists of eschewing whatever they believed in before, and getting into the role of praise singers, cheerleaders and spin-doctors.

Dr Faust had absolute power to know anything he wanted to know and see what was unavailable to the human eye.

But the devil had his own terms: “For twenty years, you can enjoy all this, after which your soul is my property.” When the time had elapsed, Mephistopheles came collecting.

The difference lies in the fact that Faust sought absolute knowledge, erudition – he was a true savant – whereas our current Faustians seek obfuscation.

Jenerali Ulimwengu is chairman of the board of the Raia Mwema newspaper and an advocate of the High Court in Dar es Salaam. E-mail: [email protected]

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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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