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Screaming and fighting, governor makes it hard for arresting officers : The Standard

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Shortly before noon yesterday, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s flight from authority came to an abrupt end on the plains of Taita Taveta when he was fished out of his car, some 20km outside Voi, and airlifted to the city.
Although Sonko’s aides deny he was evading arrest, police suspect he was fleeing towards his home in Kanamai in Kilifi County. They also suspect he had fled Nairobi from an Upperhill location and may have at some point hopped into the inter-county standard gauge railway (SGR) train to Mombasa.
His two-car convoy screeched to a halt when they were flagged down at Ndara roadblock near Maungu on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway and within minutes, a panting Sonko was dragged out kicking and swearing.
SEE ALSO :Uhuru launches construction of JKIA-Westlands ExpresswayCornered in the wild, vintage Sonko did not go down without a fight. He cursed, spat at and beat anyone he could lay his hands on. Apart from punching and shouting down the policemen at the roadblock, at Voi Police Station and Ikanga airstrip, about four plain clothes pro-Sonko bodyguards beat up anyone in sight, including journalists, as they battled policemen.
A swarm of armed GSU and regular police bundled the governor into a police car and drove him to Voi Police Station where he was briefly held.
“I will not board the helicopter until I’m told what I have done,” Sonko yelled at the police before he was overpowered and cuffed.
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OCPDs Monicah Kimani (Mwatate) and Onesmus Kombe (Taita) coordinated the dramatic arrest.
Yesterday, Ms Kimani confirmed that the police had raided Sonko’s houses in Nairobi and missed him.
SEE ALSO :Sonko wanted by anti-graft agency over ‘criminal’ past“Police had gone to his residence in Nairobi but did not find him. The police were told that the governor had left,” she said.
The pro-Sonko group, who had been in a second car, fought police right from the roadblock to the the tarmac of the airstrip, close to the helicopter in which Sonko was flown out. Despite battling police, beating journalists, damaging their equipment and trying to free him from the arresting officers, they were not arrested.
Instead, they were allowed to drive away from the airstrip.
It is unclear how or when Sonko arrived in Voi, after he allegedly fled from his house in Nairobi’s Upper Hill area. Although an order to arrest him was issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji yesterday morning, it appears that plans to arrest him began on Thursday.
An unconfirmed account indicates that Sonko arrived in Voi by the early morning SGR train, where he disembarked and joined the two-vehicle convoy that had apparently driven from Nairobi overnight.
SEE ALSO :Chaos as Sonko fights cheating claims by EACCWe established that police and intelligence officers from Nairobi and Coast staked out the governor’s residences in Kanamai and Vipingo in Kilifi, as well as Mtopanga in Mombasa, and hotels he frequents. It was also alleged that border posts in Taveta and Lunga Lunga in Taita Taveta and Kwale counties, respectively, were placed on alert when the governor vanished from his home in Nairobi and could also not be traced in Machakos and other towns where he has houses.
There was also a stakeout at his rural home in Shimba Hills in Kwale where he grew up but police indicate that there was no sight of the combative governor. Meanwhile, reports from Voi indicate that he was seen several times in Voi early this week.
The presence of close to 100 riot and GSU officers at Voi Police Station, where Sonko was held before being airlifted to Nairobi by helicopter from Ikanga airstrip, indicates that contingency plans had been put in place to seize him without a fight. The policemen were mobilised early yesterday morning from Taita, Mwatate and Voi sub-counties.
Evidence of struggles were abundant at the airstrip. Sonko, who was in a white t-shirt and a black track suit and grey slacks, was sweating profusely, his jumpers stripped to his waist. His right shoe was missing as he was forced onto the helicopter.
Saturday Standard has established that it was not a walk in the park for the EACC and DPP officers to finally seize the governor.
SEE ALSO :Embattled Sonko losses bid to block corruption probeFirst, the EACC boss was forced to terminate the contract of an officer attached to the commission’s police station, suspected to be leaking crucial information to the governor.

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Nairobi Governor Mike SonkoDirector of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin HajiMombasa

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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.

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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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