Grim outlook as cases of drug abuse surge amid covid-19 pandemic

KBC - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 23:09

Stakeholders in the fight against drug abuse within the coastal region remains worried that the adverse effects of coronavirus pandemic could wipe out gains realized in containing the vice.

With the learning calendar having witnessed unparalleled interruptions, a high number of young people across the region have indulged in the vice with catastrophic consequences.

Outside the Omari project’s compound in Malindi, a facility that provides preventative interventions for persons who use drugs, dozens gather.  Those gathered, are here to collect their doses of methadone, as they struggle to overcome their struggles with heroin addiction, with statistics indicating that there are in excess of 2,717 active injecting drug users in Magarini and Malindi sub-counties alone.

It is a struggle that resonates with Grace Wairimu, a recovering drug addict, whose six years’ experience as a heroin addict almost cost her life.  “Drug users often suffer rejection from their families, a situation that always result in self-denial by the victims.” she laments.  According to Wairimu, their options are limited to engaging in crime, and for women, prostitution as a means of earning a living. “Women who use drugs are often forced to have sex with men in exchange for drugs or to get cash to buy drugs” she says.

Now on her way to full recovery, hers is a story of misgivings but one that is painted with hope, that finally, she has reformed and ready to start her life anew. “I regret that I had lost trust from family and friends after soiling my name. No one trusts you, but if you change you start gaining trust,” She observes.

But for others, like Franklin Kibagendi who suffered a relapse, three years after quitting drugs, the struggle continues. “I have now surrendered to fate. I have limited options but to continue with the cycle. I sell bhang whose proceeds I use to buy heroine,” he says.

Having been introduced to the dark world of illegal drugs by his peers, the will to quit the addiction has been overpowered by the fear of the unknown.  His account on the effects of heroin on his body as graphical as they are disturbing. “My body aches badly if I fail to use my regular dose of heroin, I become violent. Am only able to engage you as I have already injected myself, he tells me.

Those like Kibagendi who inject themselves with drugs left dangerously exposed to a variety of health hazards including possible HIV infection. The obtaining situation leaving stakeholders in the fight against drugs and infectious diseases worried. According to Omari Mwanjama, the National Aids Control Council coast regional coordinator, incidences of drug and alcohol abuse and related anti-social behaviour have tremendously increased in the recent past. Mwanjama says there is a need to put in place structures which will address health systems up to the community level. “Once we empower the community, that’s where we can be able to address most health issues”. Posits Mwanjama.

And with COVID-19 pandemic interrupting the learning calendar, concern remains rife that the number of young people engaging in the vice especially within major urban centers is bound to surge. It is a situation so dire that the Kilifi county government is already putting in place elaborate strategies to address possible challenges posed by the resultant interruptions. County executive in charge of health services James Karisa says the county administration has already embarked on a mapping exercise to establish the relationship between Covid-19 and social vices including drug addiction, teenage pregnancies and gender based violence.

“Early indicators show that there could be a retrogression in the efforts. The county government is consolidating information to acquire data that will guide in the development of interventions.” Says Karisa.

The situation in the coast region just but a reflection of what the country could be faced with as it readjusts its learning calendar to make for time lost amid uncertainties over exactly when COVID-19 will be dealt a hammer blow and the old normal return.






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Trump impeachment: Senate trial poised to start next week

KBC - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 17:18

Donald Trump’s impeachment trial over his role in the deadly US Capitol riot is poised to begin next week in the Senate, according to Democrats.

On Monday, the House of Representatives will deliver the impeachment charge to the Senate, triggering the trial process in the 100-member chamber.

Republicans had argued for a delay, asking for more time to prepare.

Mr Trump flew to Florida as his term ended on Wednesday, skipping his successor Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The House of Representatives last week charged Mr Trump with inciting a deadly riot at the US Capitol, paving the way for a Senate trial. If convicted, he could be barred from future office.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said on Friday that the House would deliver the impeachment article on Monday. Unless Democrats, who took control of the Senate this week, change the rules, it will mean Mr Trump’s trial will begin on Tuesday.

“The Senate will conduct a trial of the impeachment of Donald Trump. It will be a full trial. It will be a fair trial,” Senate Majority Leader Schumer said on the floor of the Senate.

Mr Trump’s actions ahead of the 6 January riot are at the heart of the case. The then president told protesters near the White House to “peacefully and patriotically” make their voices heard as they prepared to march towards the US Capitol building. He also told them to “fight like hell”.

The demonstration turned ugly as a mob forced its way into the congressional complex where lawmakers were certifying Mr Biden’s election victory.

Four protesters and a Capitol Police officer died in the mayhem.

A week later, Mr Trump became the first US president to be impeached twice.

His trial in the Senate will be the only one ever to have taken place after a president has left office.

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ICT PS inspects digitization of Kisumu courts

KBC - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 16:25

Principal Secretary (PS) for Information Communications and Technology (ICT), Jerome Ochieng’ says the on-going digitization process in the judiciary will see the works of judges and magistrates transformed from handwritten to a digital form in a move to further fasten access to justice.

Mr. Ochieng’ noted that the judiciary is currently undertaking the digitization of its processes to enhance the administration of justice, emphasizing that the move aims at transcribing all court processes and ensuring that all proceedings are digitized.

He pointed out that the process will be conclusive all the way from the point when an arrest is made and case launched to when the prosecution is done or case determined

The PS said this while on an inspection tour today to assess the ongoing digitization of court processes in Kisumu County.

The process entails among other procedures, the scanning of court files and uploading them on an online platform.

At the same time, the PS pointed out that the process has the added advantage of providing employment for the youth through the Ajira digital programme.

“The system will accord justice without fear or favour and has lots of opportunities for the young people through the Ajira programme,” Ochieng’ assured.

He said the digitization process is already ongoing in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa and shall be rolled out countrywide in the next four months, further adding, the system is already running in a few counties where those who have pleaded guilty can pay their fines via Mpesa.

He said the technological development has also seen the lands office interlinked with the government chemist providing greater efficiency for all stakeholders.

The PS noted that although the system registered some resistance in the initial stages, it has now been largely embraced and getting people excited after enjoying reduced expenses and less time spent in court transactions.

The same has also attracted support from the private sector due to its benefits as people see cases move faster and business accrue greater benefits.

He said the process emboldens a great future for partnerships between public and private sector especially in the digitization of the criminal system, noting, such opportunities will also be realized through cases being done virtually with the implication that transcribers will be required.

“Overall this will translate to speedy resolution of cases and ensure that the criminal justice system is efficient,” he explained.

He said the process will also provide a solid back up system and ensure files are digitized for quick reference and thus move from the manual to an enhanced efficiency.

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Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu reshuffles Cabinet

KBC - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 16:17

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu has reshuffled her cabinet that is aimed at improving service delivery in the region.

In her changes made Friday, the Governor also sacked three County Executive Committee members.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by Article 179 (2) (b) of the Constitution read together with sections 30 (2) (d), (e) and 31 (b), (d) of the County Governments Act, 2012, I have made the following changes in the Kitui County Executive Committee,” she said.

Through a statement, Ngilu made the appointments that saw Bernard Katungi appointed the Treasurer in same capacity. He was serving on a fulltime basis.

Emmanuel Malii Kisangau was named as the new Kitui CEC for Livestock, Aqiculture and Fisheries.

Stephen Kyalo Maithya replaced Agnes Kawila Mulewa in the Education, ICT and Youth Development docket.

Godfrey Kimanzi Zakayo was replaced by Hellen Kisiku Kitheka as the new CEC for Gender, Sports and Culture

Ngilu also moved Esther Kilonzi to the Trade, Co-operatives and Investments docket.  It was previously held by Justus Makau Kalii.

Others new members to the cabinet; Jacob Maundu Kakundi-Infrastructure, Housing, Transport and Public Works, Patrick Koki Musau-Environment, Tourism and Natural Resources, Winnie Syombua Kitetu-Health and Sanitation, Samson Nyamai Masila-Land and Physical Planning and Meshack Kyalo Muthusi-Agriculture, Water and Irrigation.

Governor Ngilu named Caroline Kaiyu Musango as the County Attorney.

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Kenya’s Covid-19 cases hit 99,769 after 139 test positive

KBC - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 15:58

Kenya recorded 139 new Covid-19 cases on Friday from a sample size of 5,487 tested in the last 24 hours.

The total number of confirmed cases in Kenya now stands at 99,769 from a cumulative test of 1,148,030 conducted since March.

Of the new cases, 119 are Kenyans while 20 are foreigners with 90 being male while 49 females were confirmed to have contracted the virus.

The youngest is a two-year old child, while the oldest is aged 85 years.

137 patients have recovered from the disease, 27 from the Home-Based Care Program, while 110 have been discharged from various hospitals. The total number of recoveries now stands at 82,866.

One patient has succumbed to the disease bringing the cumulative fatalities to 1,740.

A total of 577 patients are currently admitted in various health facilities across the country while another 1,553 are on Home Based Isolation and Care.

According to Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, 27 patients are in Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 16 are on ventilatory support, and 10 on supplemental oxygen with one patient on observation.

A further 15 patients are separately on supplementary oxygen with 10 patients admitted in general wards and five patients in the High Dependency Unit (HDU).

In terms of County distribution; Nairobi 81, Mombasa 13, Turkana 11, Kwale 3, Laikipia 3, Isiolo 2, Nakuru 2, Bomet 2, Trans Nzoia 2, Nyeri 2, Migori 2, Nandi 1, Nyamira 1, Nyandarua 1, Murang’a 1, Taita Taveta 1, Busia 1, Embu 1, Kiambu 1, Kisumu 1, Kajiado 1, Kericho 1, Siaya 1, Kitui 1, Machakos 1, Kilifi 1, and West Pokot 1.


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Govt. hints at possibility of startups exemption from digital tax

KBC - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 15:49

The government is seeking to exempt local ICT startups from the Digital Service Tax (DST) through an amendment to the Finance Act 2020.

ICT, innovation and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru says the recently introduced Digital Service Tax is meant to tax multinationals operating in the country who do not pay corporate tax and talks are on with local players on how to exempt local entrepreneurs from the levy.

There was an outcry from local ICT players after the Finance Act 2020 came into force, introducing the Digital Service Tax which came into force on 1st January 2020.

The Digital Service Tax applies to companies with a permanent establishment in the country and levies services at the rate of 1.5 percent of the gross transaction value.

Following an uproar from tech entrepreneurs, the government now says the Digital Service Tax is meant to widen the tax bracket from online businesses that have experienced sharp growth during the pandemic.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru says the government plans to amend the practitioner bill currently in the National Assembly to ensure startups are protected from the levy.

ICT players also want the government to draft policies that would create a conducive business ecosystem for ICT startups in the country.

Entrepreneurs have been advised to take advantage of the government’s move to automate most of its services and come up with appropriate innovations.

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Angela Okutoyi bags ITF Junior Championship

KBC - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 15:47


2018 Kenya open winner Angela Okutoyi was crowned the International Tennis Federation, ITF  junior champion, after claiming a 6-3 6-2 sets win over Ireland’s Celine Simunyu in the final  at Nairobi club.

Enroute to the final Okutoyi saw off Mishenina Olga in the semi finals.

‘’Winning this match was not easy. But I was prepared mentally and eventually won. This is my first competitive tournament since the Covid19 outbreak, I am evaluating myself seeing where I can reach and make new goals’’, Angela told KBC Sports.

The tournament seeks to give players an opportunity to earn ranking points and a platform to hone their talent by participating in tournaments across the globe.

The championship attracted players from Yemen, Italy, and France among other countries.

The second round of the tournament is expected to kick off next Monday at Nairobi Club.

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Travel Outlook: Digital planning to lift bookings in 2021

KBC - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 15:20

The tour and travel industry couldn’t be more upbeat about the development of COVID-19 vaccines and subsequent mass vaccinations currently underway in various countries to aid recovery after the sector was brought to a halt last year.

With some countries having begun vaccination of their citizens, news of a new COVID-19 variant now threatens to dim hopes of an expected rebound in international arrivals by the second half of the year after a turbulent 2020.

According to VFS Global, the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide, the aftermath of COVID-19 lockdowns will cause a significant shift in perception of holiday destinations, caution around air travel, increase in preference for ‘safe and trusted’ destinations, and hygiene concerns.

“The travel industry will continue to adopt an increasingly digital ‘contact-less’ approach for most things – from travel planning to customer engagement, with greater assurance for sanitation standards, and possibly expanding terms of travel insurance,” said Jiten Vyas, VFS Global Regional Chief Operating Officer.

Vyas says tourists will be dissuaded from unplanned travels such as impromptu long haul travels and instead they will be warier of where they stay, travel, and eat while opting out of any accommodation or transport that they haven’t had the time to carefully vet.

He adds, “We expect to see an increase in solo/small group trips, well-researched and exclusive accommodation that allows you to check the health and sanitation standards beforehand, private transport (cabs, cycles, walking) – anything that helps one avoid sharing space with too many people and strangers.”

Tourists are also expected to give popular joints in their destinations a wide bath in an effort to minimize risks of contracting coronavirus, a move that is likely to reduce spending and receipts for host countries even as bookings begin to pick up by June this year.

Similarly, VFS projects many operators in the sector to enhance the digitization of their businesses such e-Visa applications, airport check-ins, hotel bookings as well as payments.

“The summer holidays account for 60-65% of the yearly business for travel companies and tourism boards – which is a travel peak period across the globe. Having missed that window in 2020, however, we are likely to witness a similar peak period when international borders open for long-haul travel and people deem it safe to travel,” Vyas added.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the industry lost $935 billion in 10 months to October last year, as arrivals fell 72% as destinations lost 900 million visitors due to COVID-19.

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ODM to be held to account for failures caused to govt: Ruto

KBC - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 15:18

Deputy President William Ruto has told the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) that it cannot run away from the failures it has caused the government.

He said the opposition had been part of the running of the government for the past three years using the Handshake.

“You came and changed the Government’s priorities from the Big Four agenda to alternative ones like the Building Bridges Initiative. Now, after you have failed miserably, you want to run away,” he noted.

Dr Ruto said the opposition led by Raila Odinga will be held to account for the monumental failures it has caused the country.

“You must bear the consequences for the derailment of Jubilee’s development agenda. You cannot point fingers at others,” added the Deputy President.

He spoke Friday at his Karen residence where he held talks with the Members of County Assembly from Mandera County led by Majority Leader Abdi Adan Ali.

Meanwhile, the Deputy President has asked politicians not to criminalise discussions about the needs and aspirations of ordinary Kenyans.

He said it was time the national conversation centered around the empowerment of the people at the bottom of the wealth pyramid.

Dr Ruto said the Hustler Nation conversation was not meant to divide Kenyans but to highlight and address the plight of poor Kenyans.

“The discussion we are having about hustler nation is not a discussion about the rich and the poor; it is about getting everybody to the table and ensure everybody counts.”

“How is it a discussion that is dividing people if we are saying let us also have a discussion about the ordinary people of Kenya?” he posed.

The Deputy President said that for far too long the national conversation had been about leaders and positions of power at the expense of the needs of the ordinary people.

Dr Ruto assured Mandera County leaders of the Government’s continued support in addressing the various challenges they face.

The MCAs called on the Government to step up efforts aimed at combating insecurity, drought and locust invasion currently affecting the region.

“Mandera County has diverse problems especially insecurity that has affected education and drought that has hit the region hard,” said Takaba MCA Bishal Mahalim.

Nominated MCA Hussein Ibrahim said the region was in need of Government support to tackle drought and locust invasion in the region.

The Mandera MCAs vowed to support Dr Ruto because of his desire to work with all leaders to empower and uplift ordinary Kenyans.

“We support you because you have great interest in the empowerment of ordinary Kenyans,” said Nominated MCA Issak Dahir.

Guticha MCA Mohamed Shukri said Mandera County residents will continue supporting Dr Ruto in accordance with the Jubilee Party agreement

He said: “We as Muslims, and as Muslims we cannot break a promise we made to support Dr Ruto when President Uhuru Kenyatta retired.”

Mandera County majority leader Abdi Ali the county assembly made a deliberate decision to put aside their political differences and team up to serve the people.

He said: “We were elected to serve our people who at the moment are suffering.”

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Categorie: Kenia

Lupita tickled by Ministry of Tourism claims of unavailability

KBC - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 14:56
The actress’ reaction came after CS Balala’s claims that she was inaccessible  Daily MailLupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong’o has responded to allegations made by the Ministry of Tourism CS Najib Balala that she was “inaccessible” to the MInistry. Speaking to the Nation, the CS said, “I know everybody is asking why not Lupita. Lupita has commitments and her managers cannot allow us to access her. We’ve spent the last five years looking for Lupita.” 

Me when I hear the Kenyan Ministry of Tourism has been looking for me for fives years. #Imrightherebaby #alternativefacts

— Lupita Nyong'o (@Lupita_Nyongo) January 22, 2021

However, the Oscar award-winning actress seemingly refuted those claims by tweeting, “Me when I hear the Kenyan Ministry of Tourism has been looking for me for fives years,” attaching a photo of her laughing to the post.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Tourism made Supermodel Naomi Campbell Kenya’s international tourism ambassador, a move that sparked debate about whether Lupita would have been a better choice.

Lupita is set to star in an action thriller, 355 set for release this year.


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Categorie: Kenia