Gangsters run riot in Nairobi:This story, published in January, exposed the muggers’ and robbers’ paradise the streets of the Kenyan capital had become.
It exposed robbers, some linked to the 40 Bothers gang, who were targeting people leaving ATMs, forex bureau, M-Pesa shops and even pedestrians going about their businesses in broad daylight.
It was not clear if the surge in crime in the capital was linked to cash woes that rock most Nairobians in January, and many hope that police will not let the 40 Brothers gang return to the streets this January.
The mystery killing Janet Waiyaki: In May 2018, Janet Waiyaki was killed under a hail of bullets at City Park, Nairobi.
She died due to excessive bleeding after police shot her and her friend Bernard Chege, 26, who survived the horror.
Police opened fire on their car as they escaped from the park, according to Mr Chege, but the brutal killing was later defended by Nairobi County Police Commander Joseph ole Tito and other police chiefs.
Mystery death of Strathmore University don’s wife: The year 2018 started on a rather sour note for the family of Strathmore University lecturer Fredrick Onyango Ogolla after he was arrested for allegedly beating his wife Margaret Gobi Mwachongo to death at their home in Lavington, Nairobi.
This story, published in January, revealed details that had not been published elsewhere on the suspected murder.
Uhuru creates the post of chief administrative secretary: After keeping Kenyans guessing for weeks on why he had named only a part of his Cabinet, President Kenyatta started 2018 on a serious note by filling all ministerial vacancies.
He also created the post of chief administrative secretary in a move political pundits said was to aimed at accommodating the many politicians and poll losers who had worked hard for his re-election.
The face of NYS scandal Season II: On May 24, 2018, the Nation managed to put a face to the infamous Sh9 billion NYS scandal that shook the country to the core, coming a year after Sh791 million was lost at the service in NYS scandal season I.
Ann Wambere Wanjiku Ngirita never tendered to supply goods and services to the government.
Nevertheless, she received money in an account held by her company – Annwaw Investment.
This is according the prosecution, which has asked the Anti-Corruption Court in Nairobi to fine and jail the accused.
The case continues.
Ruto’s camp unhappy with Uhuru Cabinet list: The unexplained absence of Deputy President William Ruto at State House when his boss unveiled the first batch of the Cabinet revealed the behind-the-scenes palace wars.
This story explored the intrigues of the Cabinet appointments.
Raila’s swearing-in as the ‘people’s president’: President Kenyatta and his Jubilee government had vowed to stop Nasa leaders’ plan to swear in Raila Odinga as the ‘people’s president’ on January 30.
To make good its threat, the government deployed police to Uhuru Park, the venue of the swearing-in, on the eve of the oath.
But come January 30, Kenyans were surprised to learn that police had been ordered out of Uhuru Park during the night.
This story explains how a key security organ held a meeting late in the night and decided that police should be withdrawn from the venue and allow Nasa to ‘swear in’ Mr Odinga.
Uhuru fires 15 principal secretaries: On June 8, President Kenyatta axed 12 principal secretaries who were not reappointed when he named his second-term Cabinet in January.
The Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua wrote to the PSs terminating their contracts “with immediate effect”.
Uhuru names his new Cabinet: On January 5, President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled his new Cabinet in which he retained Cabinet secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Charles Keter (Energy), Najib Balala (Tourism), Henry Rotich (Treasury), Joe Mucheru (ICT) and James Macharia (Transport).
He also appointed Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko, former Marsabit Governor Ukur Yatani and former Turkana Senator John Munyes as ministers.
Janet Waiyaki’s husband opens up on her murder: For the first time, Businessman George Kirubi, the husband of the woman who were killed under a hail of bullets at City Park in Nairobi, discussed the police murder.
He said even though his wife “had an affair”, he did not kill her and did not wish her death.
Kenya is splitting: In March 2108, Kenya became the centre of focus for earth scientists around the world after giant cracks emerged at Suswa in Narok County.
In this widely read piece, geologists warned that Kenya is slowly splitting after massive Earth movements.
They said the fissure was just one of the tens, perhaps hundreds, of other weak spots on the Great Rift Valley, which runs through the continent from the Horn of Africa to Mozambique.
Sharon Otieno’s ex-husband speaks out: Mr Bernard Okuta, Sharon Otieno’s former husband, on September 10 appealed to police to find her killers as detectives battled to unravel the mystery of her abduction and murder.
Eventually, Migori Governor Okoth Obado, his personal assistant Michael Oyamo and Casper Obiero, a clerk at the Migori County Assembly, were arrested and charged with the gruesome murder.
The madhouse that is Sonko’s City Hall: This piece explored the management style of Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko who has openly admitted that most of the decisions he makes must have the blessings of Harambee House and the national government.
Arrest of Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu: In an unprecedented move in Kenya, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu was arrested at Supreme Court in Nairobi over alleged corruption.
She was later taken to court but she did not take a plea after challenging the criminal case lodged by the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.
Miguna Miguna kicked out of Kenya: On February 7, fiery lawyer Miguna Miguna paid a heavy price of swearing-in Raila Odinga as the ‘people’s president’ after he was deported to Dubai.
The deportation followed days of drama at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as the opposition activist resisted his deportation.
Mr Misiko is the Online Editor, www.nation.co.ke.
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.