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Why it will not be easy for DP Ruto in 2022

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What was to be a smooth transition from President Uhuru Kenyatta to Deputy William Ruto is turning into a nightmare for the DP after fresh and more serious opposition emerged from within his Jubilee Party and populous Central Kenya.

Ruto’s 2022 presidential ambition faces major obstacles threatening to scuttle his bid, despite his relentless campaigning to succeed Uhuru.

The fast-shifting political dynamics in Kikuyu politics, coupled with the unsettling truce between Uhuru and ODM leader Raila Odinga, pose a grave threat to Ruto’s State House bid.

And then there’s the fact that some of Ruto’s allies are quietly being removed from plum positions, while others re facing corruption charges.

On Wednesday Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe who is Uhuru’s close ally, openly asked Ruto to retire alongside the President in 2022.

His remarks have triggered a political firestorm that has widened the rift within the President’s ruling party.

On Wednesday, Murathe bluntly stated he Kikuyu community does not have any MoU with Ruto regarding support in 2022.

“If he (Ruto) has an MoU with Uhuru Kenyatta, then that was an agreement between two individuals,” Murathe said in Vihiga during the Maragoli Cultural Celebrations.

Murathe is not an ordinary politician.

Apart from being Uhuru’s long-time friend, Murathe played a key role in a special group of senior individuals in government and from the financial sector, mainly from the Mt Kenya region. This group quietly but diligently campaigned for Uhuru’s re-election and raised a lot of money.

This group, its members trusted by the President, reportedly has been working behind the scenes to whose members are trusted by the president, has reportedly been working behind the scenes to sink Ruto’s political aspirations.

Murathe pronounced himself just a month after Uhuru himself appeared to throw Ruto under the bus, saying his choice of successor would be a “shocker”. The game plan was thrown into disarray.

In a terse statement to newsrooms yesterday, ex-Maragua MP Elias Mbau fired a rejoinder that the Kikuyu community will not succumb to blackmail into blindly supporting any candidate.

Mbau strongly backed Murathe that Kenyans must have the freedom to choose their leaders without being boxed into a corner.

“Our communities do mistrust each other because they are evil. They do so when they read evil in their leaders…The politics of extortion, corruption and arrogance must be opposed by all. We would better die on our feet than live on our knees,” Mbau said, calling a constitutional referendum a must.

Read: DP Ruto should retire in 2022 – Murathe

Ruto is considered he face of the anti-referendum push backed by key opposition figures.

Further complicating the DP’s political matrix, the powerful Kikuyu Council of Elders had in June asked Ruto to be “satisfied with his 10-year tenure as DP” and not to aspire further.

Ruto’s ascendancy to power was hinged on the populous Kikuyu vote and that in his own Kalenjin backyard.

The two communities are seen to have ‘the tyranny of numbers’ that propelled President Kenyatta to power for two terms.According to the IEBC the Kikuyu number about seven million voters, while the Kalenjin are just below five million.

The presidency traditionally has been determined by five populous communities, the Kikuyu, Luhya, Kalenjin, Luo and Kamba.

Raila has already ring-fenced his Luo community and is fighting to retain the Coast region, despite frenetic efforts by Ruto to neutralise his influence and appeal to the region’s sense of historical victim hood.

Ruto also has a herculean task to penetrate Western Kenya where he undertaken numerous charm offensives, given that ANC Leader Musalia Mudavadi is positioning himself as Central Kenya’s alternative. And a pair of steady hands.

Read: Fear of isolation changed Ruto’s tune on referendum

The Luhya community voted overwhelmingly for Raila in the past three elections.

After the March 9 handshake and camaraderie with Uhuru, Raila’s fortunes in Mount Kenya appears to have amplified as leaders from the region troop to his office.

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Uhuru and Raila have also become bosom friends, prompting fears the two have a secret power pact that excludes Ruto in 2022.

The high-profile visit by Uhuru to Nyanza, including Raila’s Bondo home, set tongues waging about their ‘real’ mission.

The anti-Ruto forces in Central Kenya have been expanding and most former MPs oppose the region’s automatic support for the DP.

However, Ruto’s allies yesterday told off Murathe, claiming the former Gatanga MP has no political mandate to issue the Jubilee Party’s position on such a weighty matter as succession.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa said only President Kenyatta as the party leader and Ruto as deputy can give party direction — and no one “masquerading” as a Jubilee official.

“The two humble gentlemen have not contradicted each other and they are not about to contradict each other in the near future. Who elected him [Murathe] to that office? Which constituency does he represent? From where does he draw his mandate?” Ichung’wa asked.

He rubbished Murathe as a political broker posing as the Jubilee vice chairman.

“For brokers, they can concentrate on brokering Chinese in this town, but when their stomachs are full, let them not vomit on us. The rest of us are busy ‘tangatanga-ing’ [traversing] the country to improve the lives of our people,” the chairman of the National Assembly budget committee said.

He went on, “In this festive season, I would honestly forgive anybody seeming to be drunk. But I would also encourage that when they are through with brokering, they don’t verbal-diarrhea on innocent Kenyans.”

Read: Rattled by Ruto remarks on referendum, Atwoli and Wetang’ula fire back

“This is a Chinese broker who wants to perpetuate the same to the Jubilee Party to benefit himself at the expense of Kenyans,” he added.

Nandi senator Samson Cherargei hit out at Murathe, calling him an “insignificant politician without any authority to speak for the party”.

“This is a man seeking cheap relevance by attacking the Deputy President, because anybody seeking political relevance must attack the DP,” Cherargei said.

The senator weighed in on the Uhuru-Raila handshake,suggesting that a few politicians had hijacked it and weaponised it to kill the DP’s presidential bid.

“They are using shadow-boxing tactics just because they claim to be close to the President to stir ethnic animosity against the President and the Deputy President’s plan to unite all Kenyans,” he told the Star.

He added, “I wonder why some people keep insisting that there is a political debt. The only debt we have is to Jesus Christ and nobody else.”

The Senate Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chairman said those opposed to a Ruto presidency had also hatched a plot to kill Uhuru’s Big Four agenda to undercut Ruto.

See: Plans to amend Constitution a daytime dream, says DP Ruto

“Some individuals are trying to scuttle Uhuru’s Big Four because they know success of the Big Four will be a big plus for the DP. They want to make sure they have something to weaponise against the Jubilee candidate,” he said.

Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama, a key Ruto ally in Western Kenya, warned that a section of politicians opposed to the DP’s State House bid were waging what he termed as a “personal smear campaign.”

“Let our politics be issue-based and not personal. Even our so-called competitors have no agenda,” he said.

Admitting that there are deliberate attempts to doom Ruto’s ambitions, Wanyama slammed anti-DP campaigners for strong-arm tactics.

“They are yet to even declare their candidate in 2022. We are aware this is political competition, but our competitors’ approach is is corrosive,” he added.

“The DP is the front runner but the DP has never sat back just because he is the front runner. He is traversing this country because to be President you must reach out to 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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