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Rising cases of murder blamed on moral decay

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Murder! Murder! Murder!

The news headlines for September could have set a new national record,
sparking off debate in offices, homes, social media and social places about the
state of Kenyan society.

With the string of sensational gruesome and senseless killings, concern
has
peaked in the country on the safety of womenfolk who seem
to be the main casualties.

Read: Kilimani woman found slaughtered, body dumped in bathtub

Danger beckons everywhere you look. And the victims cut across all
ages and gender.

Are people more than before now quick to anger and kill for
revenge or to fix relationship issues?

According to the Economic Survey 2018, there has been a steady
rise in the number of murders over the last three years.

In 2014, police recorded 2,649 murder cases across the country. It
dropped to 2,648 in 2015 but increased marginally to 2,751 in 2017.

Though no explanation is offered for the murders or the gender of
those involved, cases involving relationships have been on the rise.

 Sharon’s killing is still etched in the minds of
many. According to the post-morterm report, the 29-year old pregnant mother
of two was raped, strangled, and stabbed eight times.

 Migori governor Okoth Obado and his aide, Michael Oyamo,
have so far been charged with murder as police search for the killers.

 Monica who was buried yesterday, on the other hand, had
her throat slit in her house in Nairobi’s Kilimani estate.

Police have arrested one suspect, John Irungu aka Jowi, in
connection with the murder of the 29-year old woman.

 Mariben the daughter of Caroline Kemei, the senior resident
magistrate at Githongo law courts in Meru, was kidnapped after being dropped
from school by a person police say was known to her.

Read: Sharon died from excessive bleeding, may have been raped – autopsy

NOT
COOL

Although the murders of Sharon Otieno, Monica Nyawira and Maribel
Kapolon have dominated the limelight, many more others may not have made it to
prime news.

At least ten people — and these are only those that found their way
into the media —majority of them women and girls have in the past five months been
killed by people they were close to.

“I want young people to know that it is not cool to kill your
boyfriend or girlfriend even where you feel disappointed or frustrated – don’t
do it. Instead, it is cool to walk away and thereafter to forgive,” Justice
Jessie Lessit said in July while sentencing Langata Prison inmate Ruth Kamande.

She had been found guilty of stabbing her boyfriend 22 times in
2015 in Nairobi’s Buru Buru estate. 

In Kisii, Alvina Maracha 17, a Form 4 candidate at Sengera SDA
Secondary School, was last Sunday night lured out of her house while revising
for next month’s national examinations.

Her body was found inside a fish pond the following day. Her mother
suspected she was murdered by a former boyfriend, a local boda boda operator.

On Wednesday, a Webuye man is reported to have killed his
estranged wife, Phoebe Nanjala, 23, before fleeing. The body was found with
four stab wounds near a bakery where she works.

In Mombasa, police are trying to establish the cause of the death
of 28-year old Jackline Ngugi whose dangling body was found in her room.

Incessant cries from Jackline’s one-year old child got the
attention of her neighbours who forced their way in only to discover her
body.

On Friday, in Ngubereti village in Mogotio sub-county, 50-year old
Barnabas Kosgei killed his five-month pregnant wife over what neighbours
suspect was a domestic fight. Stella Ruto’s body was discovered lying in a pool
of blood. A mother of five, she had previously run away from home for two
weeks. 

On September 8, Dickson Samba was allegedly pushed to his death
from the fourth floor of a building in Umoja estate, Nairobi, following a
domestic quarrel.

In August, Melsa Akinyi, a 13-year old pupil in Standard 7 at
Obwolo Primary School in Kisumu East was found dead.  Her decomposing body was found in the
sugarcane plantation after she was reported missing for two weeks.

She was last seen on July 29 after leaving the Kisumu ASK Show at
Mamboleo grounds. Her uncle, Dalmas Agutu, said Akinyi left the showground to
visit her aunt who lives at Kenya Sugar Research Foundation quarters in Kibos.

In March this year, yet another nine-year-old girl, Sharlene
Mwanzia, who had gone missing for five days in Kakamega was discovered inside a
water tank behind her parent’s house at Scheme Estate in Kakamega.

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Angry
neighbours in retaliation set ablaze the house of the father of the man
suspected to be behind Sharlene’s kidnap and death. 

See also: Decomposing body of Meru magistrate’s daughter found in Gitoro forest

COUNSELLING

Counselling psychologist Josephine Kinya attributes the rising spectre
of violence to moral decay in modern families. The older generation, she says,
was brought up and modelled better.

She says the boy child has been neglected and is growing up
without the solid foundation of good family morals.

“There is a problem facing the current generation and unless all
society members act, we are yet to witness the worst,” she says.

 “Youth are rushing into
relationships without taking time to learn their partners. Within a very short
period they get married. When they start settling down, the differences they
have dawn on them,” she says.

According to Peter Njao, the chairman of the Nairobi chapter
of the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya,
the fabric of the nation is already broken.

“We no longer
promote values like we used to before. Vices like killing innocent people and
rape have unfortunately become the new norms.”

Most of the cases appear to target women and children, according
to Creaw executive director Wangechi Wachira.

According to the gender activist, the institutions mandated to
deal with such crimes should act expeditiously and special courts set up to try
gender-based violence.

“As Kenyans we have a responsibility to ensure that there’s
protection and safety for our women,” she said.

“We are really looking, watching and being vigilant with these
cases so that they don’t end up like so many other murders in which we don’t
know what exactly happened to those women,” she added.

The Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA) raised alarm over
the killings.

“The brutal murder of Monica Kimani is a clear indication of the
high level of insecurity in Kenya. FIDA Kenya strongly condemns the increasing
number of killings of young women. IG Joseph Boinet and DCI must conduct
thorough investigations to bring the culprits to book,” the organization said.

Read: Maid wanted for murder of Kisumu woman, her baby arrested in Uganda

BREAKDOWN

A parent, Tom Chitechi, said a breakdown in the close-knit family
unit can also be attributed to some of killings.

“Boys and girls are no longer conducting due diligence on
some of the friends they meet in clubs or social media,” he said.

He said in the early days, one’s background and mannerism was
checked before a serious relationship commenced.

“We also do not care to know who the friends of our children
are or who they hang out with and only get shocked when stuff happens,” he
said.

Women Senators have also expressed concern over increasing cases
of violence against young women and girls in the country. They however
said the violence was also affecting men and young boys. 

The Kenya Women Senators Association members meeting in Eldoret urged
the police and the DPP to ensure perpetrators of murder and violence against
women are arrested and prosecuted.

Chairperson Mary Yiane and ten other senators lamented the
increase in cases of murder, rape, defilement and attacks on women.

“Parent should take up their roles in guiding and counselling
girls to be careful on the relationships they engage in to avoid falling into
dangerous hands,” said Yiane.

Nominated senator Christine Zawadi said a decay in morals is to
blame for the rise in such violent crimes. 

She said courts should mete out harsh penalties against those
found guilty.

“We know many cases go unreported and the violence also
affects men and young boys. We condemn the violence and call for restraint in
society,” said Senator Alice Milgo.
The senators said they would
team up with other groups to sensitise society on the need to avoid violence
and instead sort out disputes through dialogue and counselling.

More: Heinous: Woman, three children strangled to death in Marurui

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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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