Migori governor Okoth Obado stands little chance of losing his job, lawyers say as his trial for the murder of Rongo University student Sharon Otieno starts today.
There is panic in the governor’s inner circle that he may be remanded for a long time, putting his job as the county chief at stake.
Already, a section of the civil society has started pushing for Obado’s resignation, citing Chapter Six of the Constitution on leadership and integrity.
Nairobi LSK chairman Charles Kanjama said while any offence is bailable, the judge has the discretion to grant it or not.
Kanjama said there are hundreds of murder suspects who have been denied bail.
The lawyer said among Obado’s biggest threats would be MCAs, who can kick off impeachment proceedings. “If the county assembly feels that a governor is engaged in gross misconduct, they don’t need to wait for the criminal trial to end, they can begin the political process of removing the governor,” he said.
City lawyer Soyinka Lempaa yesterday said the Judiciary lowered the integrity threshold when it allowed President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto to contest for the presidency in 2013.
At the time, the two leaders were facing crimes against humanity charges at The Hague.
“One of Article 50 rights is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Uhuru and Ruto were able to use that to vie for the presidency and deputy presidency, when they were charged with crimes against humanity… crimes against humanity are more serious offences,” Lempaa told the Star.
He said Obado will easily get bail because a precedent has been set. “So Obado will be charged tomorrow [Monday] and by Tuesday he will be back in office because we expect him as governor to have a lot of money to give cash bail of even Sh5 million or whatever amount,” the lawyer said.
Lempaa gave the example of EALA MP Simon Mbugua, who was charged with robbery with violence against businessman Timothy Muriuki, but is out on bail.
“Going by that precedent, there is no way you can say Obado’s job is at risk, because he is going to be charged with murder…robbery with violence itself carries a death sentence,” he said.
Throughout his six-year stint as governor, Obado has always courted controversy, finding himself on the wrong side of Nyanza politics.
The county boss has repeatedly locked horns with the region’s political kingpin Raila Odinga and his allies, among them Suna East MP Junet Mohamed.
In the run-up to the 2013 election, Obado defied Raila’s six-piece calls by ditching ODM and accused the opposition chief of imposing his preferred candidate, Akong’o Oyugi on Migori people. He defeated Oyugi in the election on the People’s Democratic Party.
Obado’s election on the PDP ticket led to his gravitating towards DP Ruto, until he rejoined ODM ahead of the 2017 elections.
goons disrupted rally
But that was not his last major clash with ODM bigwigs.
As ODM nominations grew closer, goons said to be allied to Obado stormed Migori Stadium and violently disrupted a campaign rally led by Mombasa governor Hassan Joho.
The campaign was meant to drum up support for his then opponent, former Energy minister Ochillo Ayacko.
His rivalry with Ayacko was revived after the former minister was cleared by ODM to contest the Migori senator seat. The seat was left vacant following the death of former radio broadcaster Oluoch Okello. The by-election will be held on October 8.
Obado is a trained teacher and was formerly the director of Kenya Sugar Board.
He has a Bachelor of Education degree and a Master’s degree in Strategic Management both from Kenyatta University.
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.