This year Harambee stars made the country proud by qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after a 14-year absence.
The AFCON tournament that the men’s football team has missed since 2014 is slated between June 15 and July 11, 2019.
The big win for the Kenyan team came after the Confederation for African Football (CAF) confirmed Sierra Leone was disqualified.
Sierra Leone was also disqualified from all football activities by FIFA due to government interference.
The West African country’s disqualification meant that group F composed of Ghana, Ethiopa and Kenya with Kenya in the lead with seven points.
However, in June last year, Harambee Stars seemed to have kicked off the competition on a wrong foot after losing 2-1 to Sierra Leone.
They later on gave new strength to their hopes by beating Ghana 1-0 in September and registering a resounding 3-0 during their match in October against Ethiopia.
The Stars now join other teams that qualified for the finals, including Egypt, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Algeria, Morocco, Mali, Tunisia, Guinea, Uganda, Mauritania, Madagascar and Ivory Coast.
Nonetheless, things seemed to be working out differently for the women’s team, Harambee starlets, after they missed at the Total African Women’s Cup of Nations 2018.
Though Kenya had not qualified for the competition, they were included after CAF suspended Equatorial Guinea for allegedly fielding an ineligible player during the qualifying matches in June.
Initially, Kenya protested the eligibility of the West African player Anette Jacky Messomo, who was allegedly a Cameroonian that had played for various clubs in Europe.
CAF upheld Kenya’s protest only to rule in favour of Equatorial Guinea in September 8, after the CAF disciplinary Council confirmed the eligibility of the player in question.
Therefore, reinstating the West Africans in the Total African Women’s Cup of Nations, meaning Kenya was out.
In athletics, Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge did Kenyans proud after setting a new world record at the Berlin Marathon in September 16.
The 34-year-old, widely seen as the greatest marathon runner of the modern era, ran a time of time of 2:01:40 on a sunny and warm autumn day along the flat inner-city course.
“I lack words to describe this day,” said a beaming Kipchoge, “I am really grateful, happy to smash the world record.”
Kipchoge’s performance marked the biggest improvement in the marathon record since Australian Derek Clayton took almost two-and-a-half minutes off the mark in 1967.
In the women’s race, Gladys Cherono won with a course record and best time of the year of 2:18:10, leaving Ethiopians Ruti Aga and pre-race favourite Tirunesh Dibaba in second and third place respectively.
Another big win came in for the Olympic marathon champion after he was named the UN person of the year in October 24.
Besides being awarded for his athletic heroism and determinations, the gold marathon holder was also awarded for his extraordinary performances, his work on HIV-Aids in Kenya, and his endurance and courage.
On December 4, the marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge was honoured as the IAAF male athlete of the year at the athletics annual awards ceremony.
Kipchoge missed by 26 seconds, breaking the magical two-hour barrier when he crossed the line in 2:00.25 in a special race on the Monza circuit in Italy in 2017 that was not eligible for record purposes.
The London Marathon champion in 2018 was also IAAF Continental Cup and Central American and Caribbean champion in both the long jump and triple jump.
Also Read: Eliud Kipchoge named UN Person of the Year
Also, earlier this year three-time world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop tested positive for a banned blod-boosting agent EPO.
The 28-year-old however claimed that a doping sample might have been tampered with by testers but AIU confirmed that former Olympic champion’s test results were true.
“We confirm that recombinant erythropoietin was detected in a urine sample collected from Kiprop,” AIU said in a statement.
Also sharing in the same fate is Kenyan sprinter Boniface Mweresa who failed a doping test.
Samples from Mweresa, who won silver in the 400m and gold in the 4x400m at the 2015 African Games in Brazzaville, taken at the June 6-8 Kenya Defence Forces Championships in Nairobi tested positive for a banned substance.
Mweresa was dropped from the team for the African Championships which were held in Asaba, Nigeria in August 1.
Following this, Athletics Kenya president Major Rtd Jackson Tuwei warned athletes to keep off performance-enhancing substances to salvage the country’s integrity.
He regretted that the country has moved dangerously close to getting banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) because of increased doping cases.
“Only four countries in the world are in Category ‘A’ and Kenya is one of them. For four years running, we have been on the watch list of IAAF, but that has been upgraded because athletes don’t want to listen to advice on doping,” he said.
In October 18, former Sports CS Hassan Wario and legendary athlete Kipchoge Keino were arrested over the Sh55 million Rio Olympics scandal.
Former Sports PS Richard Ekai and director of administration at the ministry Harrun Komen Chebet are also among the key suspects named in the sleaze.
NOCK secretary Francis Kanyili, Kiptanui Arap Soi (Chief de Mission), and Patrick Kimanthi (deputy NOCK Treasurer are also facing charges.
On November 16, however, the DPP spared legendary athlete Kipchoge Keino.
The DPP told magistrate Douglas Ogoti that he did not wish to prosecute Keino after going through his file from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
On December 6, pre-trial conference for the Rio scandal failed to take place after suspects complained that they had yet to get all documents to be used against them.
Chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti criticised failure by the DCI and the office of the DPP to fully disclose documentary evidence.
The new pre-trial conference will be held in January 22 next year.
And it was a big blow for the rugby team after tourism CS Najib Balala cancelled a Sh20 million sponsorship to Kenya Sevens team for over embarrassment that the team caused the country on an international game.
The team apparently covered the Kenyan brand during Paris sevens.
“How can you be a Kenyan and go to an international activity and cover the brand Kenya, how?” The CS asked furiously.
He said even if the team had a problem with Brand Kenya, they should have solved their issues “instead of embarrassing the whole nation”.
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.