Politicians in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) have taken jabs at Deputy President William Ruto, accusing him of derailing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s war on corruption.
The politicians made several allegations against the DP on Saturday, citing matters including the phantom Arror and Kimwarer dam projects in Elgeyo Marakwet County and the suspension of the President’s social media accounts over interference by some staff members.
They want Dr Ruto to step aide to allow investigations into his conduct amid allegations of corruption.
On Saturday, a top ranking member of Dr Ruto’s inner circle, who is part of the parliamentary leadership, told the Nation that on Friday night, he summoned a clique of trusted allies to his Karen home in Nairobi.
Dr Ruto has said repeatedly that he has never engaged in graft and that he supports the fight.
But he has also made it clear that the ongoing war on grand corruption and brazen theft of public resources is targeting him and his 2022 presidential ambitions.
The ODM leaders, however, accused him of using proxies to hamper the government’s efforts against a vice that has crippled the country and subjected Kenyans to a myriad of challenges.
Siaya Senator James Orengo urged the President to firmly tackle corruption and all those found culpable.
“I applaud the President for the courage he has as the head of state and his assurance that no one will be spared,” he said on Saturday.
One of the ODM politicians who made allegations against the DP was Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna.
Mr Sifuna accused Dr Ruto of attempting to censor President Kenyatta as he tightens the noose on those accused of stealing public funds.
“It is shocking that some people have even infiltrated the social media accounts of the President and brought it down due to his commitment to fight graft,” he said while campaigning for the party’s candidate in the Ugenya by-election scheduled for April 5.
But Chief Of Staff Nzioka Waita explained that the President’s Twitter and Facebook accounts had been deactivated for investigations.
“All official social media handles for the President have been temporarily suspended to allow for the necessary remedial measures to be undertaken,” he said.
Oburu Oginga, an East African Legislative Assembly member of parliament, accused Dr Ruto of being involved in mega scams that have crippled Kenya’s economy.
Mr Oginga also accused the DP of presiding over corruption cases by appointing people to strategic positions, people whom he said have been involved in underhand deals.
“Ruto should sympathise with the ordinary Kenyans and stop handling public resources with reckless abandon.
“It is unfortunate of him to belittle the money involved by reiterating that only Sh7 billion could have been lost when over one million Kenyans are facing death due to starvation,” he said at a political rally at Awendo Township in Ukwala, Siaya County.
He pointed out that the war on graft is targeting neither individuals nor communities but people who steal public funds.
It has been said that Sh21 billion was lost in the dam projects deal but the DP has denied this, saying “it is impossible” that the government lost that much and that the correct figure was Sh7 billion.
However, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said that up to Sh19.8 billion was paid to different firms in the two projects on various dates as at the end of 2018.
The amount is Sh1.2 billion short of the Sh21 billion the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is pursuing.
Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’ said there was sufficient evidence to prosecute individuals involved in the dam scandals and others.
“We are now calling on President Kenyatta to take action against any public servant who has been involved in any kind of corruption, knowing that Kenyans are behind him,” he said.
He appealed to the DCI to start presenting files to the Director of Public Prosecution so the suspects are taken to court.
Migori Senator Ochillo Ayacko said it was suspicious of Dr Ruto to criticise investigative agencies.
National Assembly minority leader John Mbadi assured DCI boss George Kinoti of unequivocal support from ODM legislators and Kenyans at large.
“The DCI is within his mandate to investigate all criminal activities and economic crimes. Mr Kinoti should not be intimidated,” said Mr Mbadi.
Citing the National Cereals and Produce Board, Kenya Pipeline, Kenya Airports Authority land and the dam scandals, the Suba South MP said the Deputy President’s allies have been linked to scandals.
“One is either a thief or benefitting from the proceeds of theft when he is constantly defending thieves,” he said.
Mr Chris Karan, who is seeking to retain the Ugenya parliamentary seat, alleged that his opponent David Ochieng was being used to undermine the ODM leader.
“If you see a tortoise on a table, you should ask yourself who placed it there. It is not a secret that Mr Ochieng is being pushed by our opponents,” he said. He did not elaborate.
“We should not vote for a family party which we cannot hold to account,” he said in reference to the Movement for Democracy and Growth (MDG), whose leader, Mr Ochieng, successfully challenged Mr Karan’s victory.
Just like the High Court and the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court in December 2018 upheld the decision to nullify Mr Karan’s election, citing electoral malpractices.
Politicians Agnes Zani, Fred Outa, Caleb Amisi, Lilian Gogo, Gideon Ochanda, Mark Nyamita, Elisha Odhiambo, James Nyikal and Christine Ombaka also addressed the crowd during the campaigns for the ODM candidate.
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.
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
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.
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.