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Shimo la Tewa ghost likely to haunt Sonko in court date

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IBRAHIM ORUKO

By IBRAHIM ORUKO
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Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko will be arraigned in court Monday on corruption charges.

He faces eight counts relating to the loss of Sh357 million from public coffers even as President Uhuru Kenyatta reiterated that the fight against graft will be sustained and that no one will be spared in the purge.

The governor, who has remained locked up at the EACC headquarters at Integrity Centre since his dramatic arrest on Friday, will face charges related to conflict of interest, unlawful acquisition of public property, money laundering and other economic crimes.

Police also announced that he may face charges of assault and resisting arrest at the Ikanga airstrip in Voi on Friday.

“He was abusive, unruly and violent in an attempt to resist arrest, hence obstructing police officers from the lawful execution of their duties. In the process, he assaulted and injured a senior police officer leading the team and damaged media equipment,” the National Police Service said in a statement on Saturday.

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Sonko will be charged with, among other offences, abuse of office in the award of tenders in Nairobi. Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji said on Friday that the governor and his cronies presided over a corrupt system that led to the embezzlement of at least Sh357 million.

Others to be charged alongside Sonko are county secretary Peter Mbugua, head of supply chain management Patrick Mwangangi and tender committee members Samuel Ndung’u, Edwin Kariuki, Lawrence Mwangi, Preston Miriti and senior clerical officers Wambua Ndaka and Andrew Nyasiego.

Sources at the DPP’s office intimated his escape from Shimo la Tewa Prison will be an issue of consideration when he is finally presented to court.

The National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) has considered and discussed the issue but the Nation could not verify the decision it made.

“If you followed the statement by DPP Noordin Haji, you may have noticed he used many aliases to describe the governor,” the source told the Nation, without elaborating.

“The aim of using the aliases is an indicator that the DPP wanted to cast the net wider for crimes against the governor and ensure the description fits well with all the crimes he committed in the past,” the source said.

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In his Friday briefing, Mr Haji described the governor variously as Kioko Mike Sonko Mbuvi Gidion, as gazetted in August 2017, Mbuvi Gidion Kioko Mike Sonko, Mbuvi Gidion Kioko, Mike Sonko Mbuvi Gidion Kioko, and Mbuvi Gidion Kioko Sonko.

The identity of the person who escaped from the prison is given as Gedion Mbuvi Kioko, who broke out just three months into a one-year jail sentence.

Sonko spent his third night at Integrity Centre where he has been since his arrest in Voi on Friday.

Only family members and members of his legal team were allowed to see him, but under tight security.

At a church function on Sunday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the fight against corruption is not an individual initiative but rather a collective effort that should involve all the 47 million Kenyans.

The President spoke when he attended a church service at St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Ruiru, Kiambu County, and later conducted a funds drive for the completion of a sanctuary.

He urged leaders not to politicise the war against corruption. He said individuals who have been implicated should carry their own cross.

“When you were engaging in corruption, you were doing so for yourself and you should carry your own cross,” he added.

Kiambu Deputy Governor James Nyoro, who also attended the service, challenged leaders from the county to set a good example in the fight against corruption instead of passively supporting the President when they attend his events.

If the State goes ahead to reintroduce the issue of the 1998 prison escape, this could mark the end of Mr Sonko’s political career, which has been on an upward trajectory since he was first elected Makadara MP in a by-election in 2010.

Sonko was convicted on March 12, 1998 and sentenced to a six-month jail term or a Sh200,000 fine.

In another case, he was ordered to pay Sh500,000 fine or serve six months in prison for failing to appear in court.

The governor could not raise the fines and was committed to Shimo la Tewa Prison to serve both sentences, which totalled to 12 months.

But he served for only one month before he escaped on April 16, 1998.

Legal experts argue that he will have to go back to prison to complete the sentence (11 months) with the possibility of facing another charge of escaping from lawful custody.

Whatever happens in court today will have a significant bearing on the political career of the controversial governor.

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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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