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Ruto allies furious at Raila’s 2022 talk

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By JUSTUS OCHIENG’
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Deputy President William Ruto’s allies in Jubilee have accused ODM leader Raila Odinga of trying to use his peace deal with President Uhuru Kenyatta as a launching pad for his 2022 presidential ambitions.

The leaders accused Mr Odinga of hiding behind the March 9 handshake to lay ground for his fifth stab at the Presidency in the next General Election.

Speaking separately on the telephone, a day after Mr Odinga said he will not be a candidate in the coming polls, the leaders accused him of attempting to stop debate on Uhuru’s succession claiming it is diverting Kenyans from more urgent development matters, while he was busy preparing for a run behind the scenes.

While attending a Church service at St Peter’s Nyamira ACK with his family on Christmas day, Mr Odinga said he would not be a candidate for the presidency and called for an end to the 2022 debate.

“I have never said I will run for presidency in 2022, I will not say it and I am not a candidate in 2022 so give me a break,” Mr Odinga told the congregation. But in the same breath, he seemed to suggest his statement was not definitive, saying: “We will deal with the matter when the right time comes. Allow me and President Uhuru to unite the country.”

Accompanied by his elder brother and East Africa Assembly legislator Dr Oburu Oginga, sister Ruth and wife Ida, Siaya senator James Orengo and family members, Mr Odinga said his statement should now put to rest the 2022 debate, adding that it was irresponsible for some politicians to put the country in a permanent campaign mood.

The statement appeared to be directed at Mr Ruto, whose countrywide tours have been interpreted as early campaign tactics, though he has been categorical that he is only after supervising and launching Jubilee’s development projects.

On Wednesday, the DP’s allies led by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen responded furiously to Mr Odinga’s remarks and accused him of trying to play with the minds of Kenyans while he has set his eyes on the 2022 Presidential race.

“The old saying goes that if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. So for Raila Odinga, his words are meant to hoodwink political novices,” Mr Murkomen said. He added: “For those who are in the know, he (Raila) is acting, walking and behaving like a candidate albeit with a cunning tag called handshake.”

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei and MPs Oscar Sudi (Kapseret) and Caleb Kositany (Soy) said Mr Odinga was only trying to fire up his “sinking” political career through the handshake.

“The jury is out. The Nasa leader is using the handshake to resurrect his weakening political career by creating a moribund and ineffective agenda such as the Building Bridges Initiatives and an unnecessary referendum aimed at making him stay afloat politically and relevant to his supporters that’s why he can’t hold on to a specific position,” Mr Cherargei said.

He pointed out that Mr Odinga was simply preparing himself to run for Presidency again in 2022 “that’s why his foot soldiers are sending the same signals. He is not genuine about the handshake,” he added.

Mr Sudi accused Mr Odinga of trying to stop politicians allied to the Deputy President from speaking their minds yet ODM leaders were busy discussing 2022 elections.

“If Orengo speaks about 2022 and says Raila will be on the ballot, he is treated as an angel but when we go around the country with the DP to launch projects, we are demonised over claims we are campaigning for 2022 elections. This is dishonesty of the highest order,” he said, adding that it is an open secret that Mr Odinga will be on the ballot.

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Mr Kositany told Mr Odinga to declare categorically to his supporters that he would be on the ballot.

“His (Raila’s) lieutenants have been busy trying to cajole the President to support him in 2022 yet he keeps on asking Kenyans to stop such a debate. For us with the DP, we are overseeing development projects. We know he cannot separate development and politics that is why he keeps on criticising us,” Mr Kositany said.

He went on: “It is however, Raila’s democratic right to vie and we want to tell him; we are ready for him. We will neutralise him politically in 2022 if he attempts to contest.”

Mr Odinga has been rallying Kenyans behind his deal with President Kenyatta, saying it is only, meant to unite the country and has nothing to do with elections.

But on December 13 when President Kenyatta hosted Luo Nyanza leaders at the Kisumu State Lodge, Mr Orengo and Suba South MP John Mbadi reportedly urged the Head of State to support Mr Odinga in 2022.

The Daily Nation established that Mr Orengo directly told the President to back Mr Odinga in 2022 in “the spirit of the March 9 handshake.”

“We would be happy if your excellency considers offering your support to Mr Odinga to continue with your March 9 peace deal of uniting the country and enhancing good governance,” Mr Orengo reportedly told the President. Mr John Mbadi, the National Assembly Leader of Minority, is also said to have told the President that it is only Mr Odinga who could continue with the purge against corrupt leaders.

In the meeting attended by local governors, deputies, senators and MPs, the President and Mr Odinga however, did not directly respond to the leaders.

But the President, who is reported to have been smiling as Mr Orengo extolled Mr Odinga’s leadership credentials, said he did not have any problem with any suggestion but added that “only God knows who will take the mantle.”

In Bondo, Mr Odinga revisited the intrigues that led to his reconciliation with President Kenyatta, saying the two agreed to get rid of tribalism, inequality and corruption and instead create jobs for the youth.

“I know we are not yet there but at least we ensured there is peace and understanding among Kenyans and we have started the process of uniting Kenyans. Unity in diversity will help us fight enemies such as poverty, divisive elections and help us strengthen devolution” he said.

Mr Odinga also pointed out that there were many things which were going to happen in 2019, describing it as a year of hope.

Mr William Ojonyo, the chairman of Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association, gave the former premier a plaque of a white dove, a symbol of peace.

He said that it will be a permanent memory of peace achieved after the handshake that opened up businesses for many people from the region.

Dr Oginga and Mr Orengo said 2019 will be the year when the country will achieve major political milestone which will surprise many.

In a thinly veiled attack on DP Ruto, Dr Oginga warned politicians against spreading propaganda about the motive of the handshake and push for constitutional change.

He maintained that the proposed changes and push for a referendum by opposition leaders were not meant to benefit a few people or create new positions for specific people, but for the benefit of all Kenyans.



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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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