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Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau, who tested positive for Covid-19 last week has taken on government over billions meant to fight the pandemic.

PS Kamau was forced to hand over his duties to political and diplomatic secretary Ambassador Tom Amollo as he went into isolation.

According to a report by The Star on Thursday July 30, 2020, PS Macharia regretted that the government’s contact tracing has collapsed.

The local daily reported that there is no access to proper care and even more tragic is that there is no medical insurance cover for the virus, as per PS Macharia’s observation.

The PS has questioned the country’s management of the pandemic and wondered what the billions spent so far have achieved.

“For all the billions that have been spent on this campaign, it’s hard to imagine that at the point of contact where the disease actually happens, there is no system to make sure that we have access to proper care and the proper contact tracing is actually done to keep track of those who are not well or maybe infecting others,” Macharia is quoted to have said in a WhatsApp group of top government officials.

Macharia said after he tested positive, he quickly informed his contacts about his condition, but to his surprise, none of them have been contacted by the government. 

The PS said no one has been in touch with him about contact tracing.

He said he has had malaria-like symptoms – hot and cold flushes and intense dizziness as well as disorientation, although he is yet to go to hospital.

Days before the virus arrived in Kenya, Macharia termed as “short-sighted, careless and xenophobic” Kenyans who raised the red flag about the government’s handling of the pandemic.

He hit out at critics saying coronavirus is “not the first global epidemic and is not the most deadly”. 

This was after a Southern China Airline arrived with 239 passengers in Nairobi from Guangzhou – the then second-most affected region in China – triggering an immediate uproar from Kenyans. 

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Three people died on the spot while twenty others suffered serious injuries after they were involved in a road accident at Mida area along the Malindi-Mombasa Highway on Saturday night.

The accident involved a matatu and a private Toyota Wish car.

Confirming the accident, Malindi Traffic Police Commander George Naybei said the matatu, which was carrying 14 passengers, was heading to Mombasa from Malindi and collided head-on with the saloon car heading in the opposite direction.

The traffic police boss said the driver of the saloon car was trying to overtake another vehicle at high speed before colliding with the matatu.

Naybei said the driver died on the spot and confirmed the injured were rushed to Malindi subcounty hospital.

The hospital’s Medical Superintendent Doctor Evans Ogato said the 22 had serious injuries including broken limbs, arms and ribs.

He said the bodies of the deceased were taken to the hospital’s mortuary.

Naybei urged drivers to be cautious while driving on the road to avoid such accidents

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It is a well-organised and complicated syndicate of cartels involving both senior and junior officers.

Top officers at the registration bureau have devised deliberate ways to delay or deny issuance of birth certificates.   

As a result, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i says an ICT problem had been deliberately created to slow down or jam processes, creating an artificial backlog so that anyone who wants to be fast racked has to pay a bribe in order to jump the queue.

He said those who don’t, remain a frustrated lot, suffering the consequences of endless excuses and months of waiting for their documents.

To add an insult to the injury, the cartels conspire with various hospitals where corruption starts at birth.

In this regard, parents are lured into paying hospital administrators an exorbitant fee so that birth certificates are processed and distributed without scrutiny or authentication.

Dr Matiang’i, who, and his PS Karanja Kibicho, has been camping at the bureau for a week, on Friday said it was embarrassing to discover that a large number of Kenyans have had to encounter indignity in the hands of public servants.

“This racket primarily targets illegal immigrants seeking Kenyan citizenship through the backdoor,” Matiang’i said.

He said though these are two documents are critical documents in the life of citizens, the officers had conspired with IT staff to tamper with the ICT system.

As a result, some 24 senior officers have been arrested and will be arraigned in court on Monday.

Matiang’i said out of the 24 suspects, 20 are from various departments within the bureau while four are hospital staff from St. Francis Hospital.

This comes after two top officers from the department were last week interdicted over the same claims.

“We are here to demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that Kenyans get the service they deserve and shall not allow Kenyans to be preyed upon by corrupt individuals fleecing them at the most vulnerable moment of their lives,” he said.

Matiang’i was flanked by Kibicho, ICT CS Joe Mucheru, PS Jerome Ochieng’ and Inspector General of police Hillary Mutyambai.

“Government is about service delivery. We are to serve and not to humiliate and frustrate Kenyans. People cannot be lining here from 5 am and leave at 6 pm without being served,” he said.

Matiang’i said the cleanup will entail total a total overhaul of the system, which includes people, processes, procedures, hardware and software to improve accountability and efficiency of service.

He said amid efforts to clear backlog at the bureau, all Huduma Centre branches in Nairobi, now have the capacity to print Birth Certificates.

This means Citizens will no longer have to come to the Bishop house to receive follow up or receive their Birth Certificates.

Mucheru in his remarks said some 17 staff from the ICT ministry will be camping at the bureau throughout the weekend to ensure all services are digitised.

So far, Mucheru said since last week they have managed to digitise 32 million files.

He said they expect to clear the entire backlog before December 1.

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Nairobi County Government intends to convert the Dandora dumpsite into a recreational park after it is decommissioned.

This is one of the highlights of the County Annual Development Plan 2020-2021. Previously the authorities intended to relocate the dumpsite.

CADP says methane will be generated from the residual waste at the dumpsite for power generation.

In July last year, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko said an energy recycling plant will cost the county Sh28 billion.

Sonko had at the time said the county was in the final stages of awarding a contract for the construction of the plant. There is no contract one and a quarter years later.

There will be no need to relocate the dumpsite since the recycling plant will convert the waste into 160MW clean and renewable energy per day.

However, in August this year, there were reports that the waste-to-energy recycling plant could take longer to be set up.

The county government was said to be scouting for technology specifically designed for the circular model of waste management proposed by authorities.

Yesterday, County Executive for Environment Vesca Kangogo said, “The Dandora dumpsite will still be operational but the dumpsite will be eventually decommissioned in an environmentally sound manner and eventually turned into a park.”

The county plans to have two landfills at Kamukunji and Lang’ata fore waste that cannot be recycled after the phase-out of the Dandora dumpsite.

Before then, a feasibility study will be done to come up with recommendations for a Resettlement Action Plan for households likely to be affected since the sites will be near human settlements, Kangogo said.

Kangogo told the Star that consultations were ongoing with the national government and the Public-Private Partnership Unit on the best way to get an investor to do the project.

Dandora dumpsite holds over 1.8 million tons of solid waste against 500,000 tons capacity.

More than 2,500 tonnes of waste is deposited at the site daily.

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A woman allegedly presented herself as a State House employee able to provide a tender for a military surveillance system, complete with all equipment and logistics — and a mandatory non-disclosure clause.

Another time, she allegedly presented herself as an employee of Deputy President William Ruto, able to provide tenders for 2,800 HP laptops valued at Sh180 million; one tender was for 120 laptops.

In both cases, the complainants were taken in by utterly convincing Wangari Kamau, alias Patricia Mareka. 

She allegedly was part of a ring of fraudsters. 

Kamau,  according to prosecution and victims, uses fake names and masquerades as a project manager or procurement officer at either State House or Harambee House Annex.

She also allegedly was part of a team of people masquerading as intelligence and military officers.

On Tuesday the woman who had been on the run for a year stood before a Kiambu magistrate and faced multiple fraud charges involving fake procurement deals linked to State House and the Department of Defence.

Kiambu senior principal magistrate Stellah Atambo ordered Kamau to be remanded at Lang’ata Women’s Prison until November 5, pending a bond hearing.

She is accused of defrauding Charles Ng’ang’a of Sh40 million and another Sh96 million by claiming that she was in a position to award him a tender to supply a military surveillance system, including 120 HP laptops for Sh96 million.

Kamau allegedly claimed the surveillance system was complete with equipment and logistical support and said a non-disclosure agreement was required.

There were various other tenders besides those for military surveillance and laptops, and a number of complainants.

Kamau faces other counts of falsely presenting herself as a State House employee.

Her lawyer Njau Kayai appealed for bail, saying his client is mentally ill and will not jump bail.

However, the prosecution objected, saying she had been on the run for a year after jumping bail in another similar case before a Milimani court, that one involving laptops and the DP’s office.

Kayai told the court his client hadn’t appeared because she suffers from a mental condition and therefore could not fully understand the conditions attached to her bail terms.

He also said that she had been admitted to Mathari Mental Hospital because of her condition, hence, the reason for her non-appearance. Kayai tabled a medical report indicating that Kamau she suffers from aggression.

The prosecution disputed the report, saying anyone could obtain documents from a doctor to support their claims. The prosecution said the investigating officer verified from Mathare that Kamau had been an outpatient only.

She is also accused of forging tender documents purporting them to be genuine, signed by Maj Gen Fatuma Ahmed Gaiti.

It is alleged that the accused introduced herself as ‘Ms Muhoro’, allegedly dropping government officials’ names and departments to lure victims with fake tenders.

In the case at the Milimani law courts, she is charged together with Alan Chesang and Augustine Matata.

Matata is in custody after a warrant for his arrest was issued for skipping court.

It is alleged that between May 30, 2018, and August 12, 2018, jointly with others not in court, the accused conspired to offer a fraudulent tender, in the name of Deputy President William Ruto for the supply of 2,800 laptops valued at Sh180 million.

The court heard that they obtained the laptops by false pretences from Makindu Motors Limited along Mombasa Road jointly with others who have not been arrested.

They allegedly presented fake local purchasing orders from the Deputy President’s office to defraud the complainants by claiming that the office was procuring the laptops.

The matter has been adjourned several times for several reasons, including the suspects’ absence.

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A flamboyant city lawyer has revealed for the first time how he almost died at the hands of Americans who wanted to arrest and extradite the Akasha brothers for drug trafficking. 

Cliff Ombeta told the Star how he thwarted attempts by the Americans to record his conversations and twice rejected hefty bribes. 

All these were part of efforts to force him to abandon his clients Baktash and his brother Ibrahim Akasha so that they could be extradited to the US. 

In a wide-ranging interview Ombeta laid bare the manoeuvres by the American investigators saying the US detectives threatened him with death after he refused to lead them to the Akashas’ hideout.

“They would trail us all the time. At one time I took a laptop that they were using to record us at Whitesands Hotel, smashed it on the floor and threw the fragments into the ocean.

“They said I had destroyed American property and insisted that they were not recording us. They said they were just testing their equipment. I dared them to do their worst,” Ombeta said.

Ombeta said the Americans monitored all his movements during the case and they often booked themselves in luxurious hotels where he was putting up.

“They knew which rooms we were staying. If we took room 113 they took 114,” Ombeta said. 

The city lawyer said that he was aware that Americans did not want him and had ‘cooked’ all sorts of stories to malign his name.  

“We had bodyguards at that time. That’s why they have bile with me. I even had to tell the court in one of the many hearings that there were intruders when I saw them sitting in court. I fought them in each and every yard,” the city lawyer said.

A U.S. judge sentenced Baktash to 25 years in prison in August after he pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to import heroin and methamphetamine and other crimes

The prosecutors described Akasha as the leader of a crime family called the Akasha organisation. 

The organisation, they said, was a major smuggling operation connecting the poppy fields of Afghanistan to European and U.S. cities.

In his guilty plea, Baktash Akasha also admitted to bribing officials in Kenya.

His brother, Ibrahim Akasha, has also pleaded guilty in the case and is scheduled to be sentenced by the same judge in November.

But Ombeta maintains that the Akashas were not subjected to a fair trial in Kenya.

“They even offered me $250,000 (25 million) cash in City Mall telling me,  ‘Tomorrow don’t come to court’. But I refused. They tried every trick,” Ombeta told the Star.  

Ombeta denied claims that he was the conduit of hefty bribes that were allegedly offered to the country’s criminal justice system by the Akasha brothers.  

“Who took the money and for what? When they (Akasha brothers) were being kidnapped I fought with them (Americans) at City Mall. They even offered me the same amount of cash to tell them where Bhaktash was and I refused,” Ombeta said.

Baktash Akasha Abdalla, Vijaygiri Anandgiri, Gulam Hussein and Ibrahim Akasha Abdalla at the Mombasa High Court on February 9. Photo Mkamburi Mwawasi.

The case stemmed from a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration probe into the Akasha organisation. 

It led to the extradition of the brothers to the United States from Kenya in January 2017 along with Gulam Hussein, a Pakistani national. 

Hussein was charged with heading a drug transportation network. 

Another person extradited was Vijaygiri Goswami, an Indian businessman accused of managing the organisation’s drug business.

Ombeta said that, at some point, the Americans nearly shot him so as to have their way in extraditing the two brothers to the US to face drug-trafficking charges.

“At Akasha’s house they even put guns to my head,” Ombeta said.  He maintains that he has no apologies for offering legal counsel to the Akasha brothers.

The two Akasha brothers were accused of successfully managing to stall their own extradition cases by first obtaining bail, repeated adjournments and slowing the wheels of justice.

The lawyer denied claims that he was at the heart of the elaborate web of people including security officials, the judiciary and top government officials that shielded the Akasha family drug empire from prosecution.

He said that it was the Americans who branded the Kenyan justice system corrupt and connived to airlift his clients after the prosecution sensed defeat in court.

“Then they started calling us bad names, saying that we were corrupt and were delaying the case. Truth is we never delayed the case but it was the prosecution that did,” he said. 

They never brought witnesses, just affidavits and when they realised that the court might rule against them they decided to kidnap them, Ombeta said.

“All this talk that people were given money is rubbish. Most of those mentioned never handled the matter and some of the ones who handled the case have not been named,” he said. 

Ombeta said drama started when the Akashas were first arrested. 

He immediately set in motion a legal challenge after realising the government’s intentions were to extradite them to the US the same day.

“We managed to block it after I told the court there was nothing like that in law and we have an extradition treaty with the US. They had sneaked them into court at 3pm to get orders,” he said.

He went on: “After the court declined, the state prepared charge sheets in court and charged them with drug trafficking. That is when the drama started.”

The lawyer said he came to know the Akashas during his pupilage when they used to go to court for their father’s cases. 

He became close with them when he appeared for murder suspects who had been charged with the killing of their dad.

“When I reached there I met Bhaktash Akasha and his brother who asked why I was representing people who killed their dad, yet  we were friends.

“Because I had already been paid I went for the first two to three sessions and handed it over to someone else because of conflict [of interest],” he said.

The Akasha brothers reportedly confessed to the US authorities of bribing officials in Kenya, Tanzania and other countries to ensure their drugs moved across borders without scrutiny.

During court proceedings in the US, Baktash and Ibrahim are said to have named persons in the judiciary and government as part of the Akasha’s drug empire. 

Among them were a prominent city lawyer, a former senior official in the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, some judges and government officials.  

It was also claimed that the US government had already made their Kenyan counterparts aware of its intention to charge the suspects in US courts.

But Ombeta said that the US authorities had resorted to mudslinging and blackmail after failing to sustain the prosecution in Kenya.

He said his clients never influenced the court system.

“Let them not call judges bad names, even the ones who were never interested in the cases. The blame is squarely on them. I think the courts were against us. From the lower court all the way to the Court of Appeal, they did not favour us,” Ombeta said.

The lawyer said that while the defence counsel was busy researching and preparing for a final push towards an end to the extradition matter, the prosecutors were “gift wrapping four nice bundles to hand over to the Americans. The DPP was preaching the law while breaking it”. 

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Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and her bodyguard, Okuto Otieno, have been granted Sh1 million bond and a surety of a similar amount with the alternative of Sh500,000  bail.

“The two shall be released but they must present themselves to DCIO in Malindi on October 22… any further summons shall be issued,” Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Vincent Adet said on Thursday.

Adet said that the police shall have the liberty to charge them if they have the evidence.

“It’s illegal for the police to have someone they don’t have evidence against to be held without a charge. Police must only arrest when they have evidence against suspects. The Constitution disallows this,” he said.

Jumwa and her bodyguard, Okuto Otieno, spent the night in the cells as they awaited arraignment on Thursday morning.

The two were held at the court police station.

The prosecution sought to have them detained for 21 days pending investigations.

Jumwa was arrested alongside Otieno, her gardener and domestic worker after one person was shot dead on Tuesday.

The man was shot dead during a fracas that erupted at the home of ODM candidate Reuben Katana in Ganda ward.

Trouble started after Jumwa stormed the home to disrupt the meeting between Katana and ODM agents for the Thursday’s by elections, saying the campaign period was over.

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Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa spent the night in police custody over the violence that broke out at Ganda ward in Malindi on Tuesday evening.

A man was shot in the shoulder and killed during the chaos and several other people, including police officers, were injured. Jumwa had stormed a meeting organised by Reuben Katana, an ODM candidate in Thursday’s by-election.

Gumbao Jola, 48, died upon arrival at Malindi General Hospital. He was Katana’s uncle.

The MP arrived at the meeting in a convoy of three vehicles. Thereafter, chaos erupted and police officers were forced to shoot in the air several times. The lawmaker is the chief campaigner for independent candidate Abdulrahman Omar, according to her lawyer Jared Magolo.

The MP, whom the police described as confrontational and fond of making inciteful statements in public, accused Katana of campaigning long after the campaign window period had been closed.

Katana was hosting more than 500 people at his home. Jumwa and her bodyguard, Geoffrey Otieno, are suspects in Jola’s murder.

The two were arrested on Wednesday at 1.50am, taken to Port police station in Mombasa before they were arraigned at 2.30pm, her lawyer said. Initially, there were reports that four people had been arrested, but only two were arraigned.

Jumwa and her bodyguard were, however, not charged as assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Alloys Kemo applied to have them detained for 21 more days, pending investigations.

In a sworn affidavit, Kemo said the police want to hold the MP and her bodyguard as they investigate four charges — murder, incitement to violence, breach of Election Offences Act and breach of electoral code of conduct.

“Police have intelligence that the first respondent’s (Jumwa’s) agents are planning to disrupt the Ganda by-election tomorrow. They are regrouping at Takaungu,” Kemo said.

He added that security agents at the coast cannot guarantee the security of Jumwa and her bodyguard because the Malindi residents are baying for their blood.

“A large crowd gathered at Malindi police station on Tuesday night chanting that they want to avenge the death of Gumbao Jola. The two should be detained because the situation in Malindi is tense and volatile,” Kemo said.

He added the police need enough time to conduct an autopsy on the body and carry out a ballistic investigation on the firearm used to kill Jola.

“Police also need to find out if the second respondent (Jumwa’s body guard) is a licensed gun holder. A ballistic investigation will be conducted on the gun and the bullet cartridges that were recovered today at 2am,” he said.

However, Jumwa’s lawyer Magolo described the DPP’s application as “hopeless.”

“The application is actually crying for dismissal.  This court should not agree to be allowed to take sides in an election contest.

“We know there are people who want to take away Jumwa from Malindi because she is the chief agent of a candidate in Ganda’s by-election,” Magolo said, adding the DPP is dishonest in his submission.

“They have admitted that was an illegal gathering. It was taking place after the official closure of campaign period. Jumwa is an MP and a chief agent of a candidate in that election and had gone to seek answers, but she was then attacked,” Magolo said.

Jumwa is represented by four lawyers in the case. Her second lawyer, Gikandi Ngubuini said the are no records to show that Jumwa is confrontational.

“No records have been produced to show the first respondent has ever been found guilty of incitement. No evidence has been filed in this court from any person to show that once the MP is released there would be violence in Ganda,” Ngubuini said.

On Wednesday evening, Mombasa senior resident magistrate Vincent Andet said he would make a ruling on whether to release Jumwa on bail or continue holding her as requested by the DPP today.

“It’s already late in the evening and I’ve not been able to go through all the submissions. I would request that I deliver a ruling tomorrow (Thursday) at 8.30am,” Andet said.

According to Jumwa, the meeting was aimed at planning violence against her supporters with a view to ensure her candidate loses.

`The embattled legislator has been branded a rebel and ousted out of Raila Odinga’s party for supporting Deputy President William Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid. 

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Current and former governors could soon find themselves on the radar of detectives after a parliamentary committee recommended graft investigations of their administrations.

The Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee wants at least 10 governors and seven former county chiefs investigated for the possible loss of funds during their tenures.

Some of the counties mentioned in the PIAC 2014-15 report include Nyamira, headed by John Nyagarama, Kivutha Kibwana’s Makueni, Paul Chepkwony’s Kericho, Uasin Gishu, led by Jackson Mandago, Salim Mvurya’s Kwale, Embu headed by Governor Martin Wambora and Kilifi under Amason Kingi.

Former governors whose administrations were put under the microscope include Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo), Issa Timamy (Lamu), Joseph Nduati (Kirinyaga), Kinuthia Mbugua (Nakuru) and Peter Munya (Meru).

The watchdog panel scrutinises the county governments’ books of accounts. It has recommended the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations close in on possible culprits.

The committee reports that some governors have been overseeing massive irregularities, ranging from flawed multimillion-shilling tendering processes, blatant conflict of interest, overpayments and misuse of car loans and mortgages.

It says some counties have been diverting public funds to items not budgeted for, funding ghost projects and inflating costs.

The report notes that some counties are still spending locally generated revenue at source, an avenue that has been identified as a major outlet for siphoning public funds.

In the report, a copy of which the Star has obtained,  the Moses Kajwang’-led committee says Nyagarama’s administration has trampled on procurement rules.

The committee notes that the county government has a poor bookkeeping regime and huge capacity challenges in the accounting and procurement departments.

For instance, it says, most of the staff working in the department are not registered with the relevant professional agencies, raising concerns about their capacity to handle tasks.

There were no proper records for workers’ loans and mortgages, casting doubt on the sustainability of the multimillion-shilling scheme meant to provide cheap facilities to workers.

The committee wants the EACC and DCI to investigate Sh60 million spent by the county in the purchase of three heavy earth-moving equipment without a valid contract with the supplier.

The county government did not enter into its own agreement with the supplier but instead relied on the terms of the deal the contractor had with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, the committee says.

It also wants Nyamira procurement and accounts officers probed for failing to provide supporting documents for the expenditure of goods and services amounting to Sh4.8 million.

“The committee recommends that the responsible officers be prosecuted for breach of Section 62 of the Public Audit Act,” says the PIAC.

The committee also cites the county for single sourcing casuals for various civil works amounting to Sh7 million and procuring resource mapping services at a cost of Sh21.7 million through direct procurement.

The team wants Governor Mandago’s administration investigated for a Sh378.9 million loan advanced by the Kenya Commercial Bank.

It wants the EACC and DCI to establish why the county paid the money from the loan directly into the machinery suppliers’ accounts without first banking it at the County Revenue Fund as required.

“The committee noted that there was a material breach of procedures and law, recommends further investigation on whether there was adherence to procurement process,” say a Report.

The panel learnt that the statement of receipts and payments reflected nil proceeds from domestic borrowing yet the county had taken a loan from KCB.

“The committee noted that there was a material breach of procedures and law, recommends further investigation on whether there was adherence to procurement process,” it recommends.

The committee wants the EACC and DCI to establish why only Sh378.9 million was received by the county yet the devolved unit had signed a loan agreement for Sh484.4 million with KCB.

The procurement of computers, printers and digital cameras for Sh9. 9 million in Makueni should be investigated as well, the team recommends.

Governor Kibwana’s administration did not convince the panel why the orders were split into a number of smaller quantities, contrary to Section 30 of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2005.

The law requires procurement exceeding Sh6 million to be done through open tendering.

“The committee noted that the non-compliance of the law resulted in the loss of public funds and recommends that the DCI and EACC should investigate the violation of the process and law with the view to prosecute those responsible,” reads the report.

In Kwale county, the administration invested more than Sh93 million in the purchase of tree seedlings, some of which disappeared into thin air, according to the panel.

The committee concurred with the Auditor General’s report that up to Sh8.7 million spent by the Department of Lands, Physical Planning and Natural Resources to buy 200,000 tree seedlings could not be accounted for.

It notes auditors visited various ward administration offices but could not physically verify where the seedlings were planted.

“Therefore the committee recommends that the DCI and EACC should investigate the responsible officers with a view of the recovery of the funds and prosecution for breach of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act,” the committee says.

It wants Governor Wambora’s government investigated for funding stalled projects. This follows the county’s decision to pay contractors substantial amounts of money before works are completed.

Some of the works include water projects valued at Sh79.9 million. “Where money has been paid for incomplete work, the contractor and responsible officers should be investigated and prosecuted with a view of the recovery of the funds lost,” the committee says.ADVERTISING

In Kilifi, the team points out, Sh23.4 million was paid to the personal bank accounts of three individuals during the year under review.

The Kingi administration told the committee that the payments related to allowances paid to MCAs for meetings and activities initiated by the executive.

The county said the payments were wired through the personal accounts of three county officers to cater for subsistence allowances for MCAs as the county assembly had exhausted its allocation for members’ allowances.

But the committee recommends the officers be prosecuted for breach of Section 62 of the Public Audit Act, saying they failed to provide documents.

The team also points out that at least eight suppliers were contracted for Sh5.8 million yet they were not on the pre-qualified list for accommodation and catering services.

Former Meru Governor Munya’s administration is on the spot for irregular renewal of an insurance scheme for county workers without open tendering after the expiry of the contract.

The county had contracted an insurance firm to offer enhanced medical cover at a sum of Sh31.6 million but renewed it at Sh139.9 million after the deal expired.

The increase of Sh108.2 million reflected a 342 per cent increase and was above the 25 per cent variation allowed under the law, the committee says.

“The accounting officer who caused Meru county to suffer financial loss through the insurance cover be held liable and further investigations on the matter should be carried out by relevant bodies on how Gold Field became a broker,” the committee states.

It also wants Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and former county chiefs Cleophas Lagat (Nandi) and Samuel Ragwa (Tharaka Nithi) investigated. And Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga and former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero surcharged.

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The plane carrying the remains of 28 Kenyans who perished in the Ethiopian plane crash landed at JKIA on Monday morning.

At least 32 Kenyans were on board in the Boeing 737-Max Ethiopian plane during the March 10 tragedy, which killed 157 passengers.

The families of the victims of the crash were at JKIA early in the morning waiting for clearance.

Hearses were lined up at the VIP gate.

A preliminary report released in April indicated that the Ethiopian Airlines pilots wrestled with a computer system that repeatedly ordered the nose down because of faulty sensor data.

The same system was a focus of the preliminary report into the October Lion Air crash in Indonesia, which killed 189 people.

A Kenyan family had filed a lawsuit in Chicago in April against American aviation giant Boeing over the crash.

Remains of the Ethiopian Airlines crash victims arrive at JKIA on Monday, October 14, 2019.
Remains of the Ethiopian Airlines crash victims arrive at JKIA on Monday, October 14, 2019.
Image: PATRICK VIDIJA

 George Kabau said he wanted to compel the company to release documents and emails relating to its 737 MAX 8 model, which was grounded worldwide after two major planes crashed in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

In July, a Kenyan family told the US Congress that Boeing was yet to offer personal apologies to families of those affected by the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash.

Paul Njoroge revealed that Boeing had only made their apologies before cameras, but hadn’t reached out to the next of kin personally.

“The airlines just sent letters of sympathy acknowledging their mistakes but didn’t send their apologies,” he said.

But based on the Montreal Convention, each of the families of the Ethiopian Airline crash victims could receive as much as Sh17 million.

The treaty,  adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, stipulates that “if an airline is found at fault for an accident, each affected passenger is to get a minimum value equal to 113,100 special drawing rights”.

This type of plane crash compensation currently equals approximately $170,000  per passenger.

Family of the victims of the ET crash register to gain access.
Family of the victims of the ET crash register to gain access.
Image: PATRICK VIDIJA

Family of the victims of the ET crash await the remains at JKIA.
Family of the victims of the ET crash await the remains at JKIA

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Family of the victims in a solemn mood as they await remains of the victims of the ET crash.
Family of the victims in a solemn mood as they await remains of the victims of the ET crash.
Image: PATRICK VIDIJA
Family of the victims of the ET crash arrive at JKIA.
Family of the victims of the ET crash arrive at JKIA.
Image: PATRICK VIDIJA
Family of the victims of the ET crash await the remains at JKIA.
Family of the victims of the ET crash await the remains at JKIA.

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Former President Daniel arap Moi has been admitted to Nairobi Hospital for what the family said was routine check-up.

Sources within the family and the hospital told the Star Moi was admitted on Friday and he is set to spend some days at the hospital for intensive check-up.

“Nothing much to worry about. He is there for routine check-up and being attended to by his physician Dr David Silverstein . He is expected to spend a couple of days to allow the doctors sufficient time to check Mzee,” the source said.

Kanu secretary general Nick Salat confirmed that Moi was admitted.

“Yes, he is there just for normal check-up,” Salat, who was appointed in April, as chairman of the Postal Corporation, told the Star on phone.

But when the Star contacted Moi’s press secretary Lee Njiru, he said he was not aware the former president was sick and hospitalised.

“I’m in Nakuru and I’m not aware of such reports. I will find out and I will let you know once I get a report on the same,” Njiru told the Star on phone.

The admission of Moi comes days after Kenyans celebrated the return of Moi Day, a public holiday he created.

Moi Day was removed from the list of national holidays following promulgation of the Constitution in August 2010.

But the High Court reinstated the day to be marked as a holiday on grounds its removal was in contravention of the Public Holidays Act.

Kenya had been marking the holiday since 1988, when President Daniel arap Moi marked 10 years in power but it was scrapped in 2010.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Mating’i encouraged Kenyans to mark the day “with selfless acts of service to their community that seek to promote patriotism, national unity, social justice, cohesion and sustainable development in their communities for the benefit of present and future generations.”

It is not the first time Moi is being admitted to the same hospital. Last December, he was there for what his office said was a normal check-up.

In March 2018, Moi who turned 95 last month was flown to Israel following “an uncomfortable knee.”

While the former president has enjoyed good health since leaving office in 2002, he has had a problem with one of his knees following an accident involving his car in 2006 in Limuru.

In January 27, 2017, he underwent a minor surgery on the knee at Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi.

“The doctors of the former president have booked him in a hospital in Tel Aviv where they are eager to have a second opinion on his knee which has been a source of discomfort to him,” his office said last year when Moi was flown to Israel where he spent 6 days.

During his 95th birthday last month, unlike previous celebrations which have been characterised by pomp and colour, the event was a private function at his Kabarak home attended by close family members only.

Moi was born on September 2, 1924 and served as the second President of Kenya from 1978 to 2002.

He took over from Kenya’s first president Jomo Kenyatta following his death on August 22, 1978.

Moi has kept off active politics but in the recent past since the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga he has been receiving huge delegations of politicians paying him homage.

His son and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi who is keen on succeeding Uhuru in 2022 has featured most in the high profile visits which political pundits believe could be part of planning of the Uhuru succession.

Those who have visited Mzee Moi include Uhuru, his mother Mama Ngina Kenyatta, Oding, former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli.

May last year, DP Ruto made his way to Kabarak but failed to meet Moi as it was alleged that the retired president was undergoing a routine physiotherapy session with his doctors for the entire duration of the visit.

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A West Pokot preacher has been arrested for forcing children to abandon school for his church where they worship while naked.

Samwel Kalwari who calls himself Eliya, claims he was directed by God to abandon his job and start “serving him.”

Samwel Kalwari who is now calling himself Eliya alleges that he was asked by God to abandon his job and start serving him.

Kalwari is a nurse by profession but does not allow his followers to seek medical treatment in hospital.

He was arrested at Ywaleteke location.

His wife, Penina Lomatum, said the husband left home in January  2017 for his work station.

Lomatum said the man used to return home during the weekends to visit his children but never made such a trip after January 2017 when he allegedly married a second wife.

“When we got married, I told him I cannot attend his church and he allowed me to worship in my previous church. I have just come to realise that he has a new name Eliya. I was not aware of that,” Lomatum said.

She asked the government to investigate the church and ascertain whether it is registered.

“I have heard that he doesn’t use salt and sugar and he cannot use new notes. I heard that he was arrested and decided to come and visit him today,” she said.  

Lomatum asked the government to hasten investigations so that Kalwari can go back to his job and help their young children.

“I have no job and used to depend on him to support the family,” the wife said.

Kipkomo subcounty commandant Mohamed Kofa said Kalwari was arrested alongside parents of the affected children.

“We have arrested the pastor together with the parents of children who had abandoned school and we are carrying out investigations to get more information concerning the church. We want to know what they do while worshiping naked in the hills,” Kofa said.

Kofa asked chiefs to ensure all school-going children were in school and parents who fail to ensure their children are in school be arrested.

“Parents who fail to take their children to school should be arrested and prosecuted since it’s the constitutional mandate to ensure their children go to school,” he said.

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The Kibra by-election has raised questions about President Kenyatta’s succession strategy and who he truly supports between ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto.

While the President has been consistent in his public support and defence of the handshake with Raila, Ruto’s supporters insist the President has not abandoned their man.

The Kibra by-election has lifted the lid on the President’s perceived delicate bid to hold onto the two protagonists in a strategic move not to disrupt the delivery of his Big Four agenda.

While Uhuru’s supporters among them Nairobi Senator John Sakaja previously said Jubilee would not field a candidate in Kibra, Ruto picked footballer Macdonald Mariga and ensured he was on the ballot against  Raila’s candidate Imran Okoth.

On September 18, Embakasi East MP Babu Owino launched a scathing attack on Kenyatta after the President endorsed Mariga.

Owino accused the President of betraying the handshake by choosing to back the former Inter Millan midfielder who is running on a Jubilee ticket. 

“Baba must be very careful with this thing called handshake. No fruits so far. We can’t be duped twice. President Uhuru must be genuine with this handshake,” Owino said in a Facebook post.

“Baba, we must be very careful and if the “marriage” is void because  one party is incompetent for being in a subsisting marriage or voidable because it’s not consummated then we must be out very fast.

“We need not lie to each other and in return, their intention is to embarrass you. Jubilee must never and will never win Kibra. I’m ready to go back to the bush.” 

On Sunday while campaigning, Mariga claimed the Head of State calls him to check on his progress.

“Baba must be very careful with this thing called handshake. No fruits so far. We can’t be duped twice. President Uhuru must be genuine with this handshake ,”MP Babu Owino

“You all know the person who gave me the Jubilee cap? I was with a host of Jubilee MPs. We sat down with the President and he told me during my campaigns I should talk to the Akiguyu community in Kibra and they will not fail to support me,” Mariga said.

A day after Mariga met Uhuru at State House, nominated MP Maina Kamanda met Raila and announced he would campaign for Imran.

Chief Administrative Secretary Rachel Shebesh met women leaders two weeks ago and claimed that the Head of State was ambushed and that he was not backing Ruto.

“He has a mouth. Have you heard him say he supports Mariga?,” paused Shebesh who is known to be close to Uhuru.

“The President is well aware that any mishap to antagonise the Deputy President or Raila would directly slow down his desire to deliver on his legacy programmes,” said university don Macharia Munene.

Munene, a lecturer at the United States International University, told the Star the President is walking a political tightrope.

“The President is largely silent when Ruto and Raila are fighting. For example in Kibra, the President is trying to appease both camps because for him, whatever the outcome, that would be a non-issue,” he said.

Until the handshake last year, Ruto enjoyed a lot of privileges and power.  After Uhuru and Raila announced their truce Uhuru went out of his way to shower Raila and defend their deal as he maintains relative harmony between the two politicians.

Ruto and his supporters have seized every opportunity to attack Raila and his ODM even accusing the opposition chief of importing confusion into Jubilee. 

As the President has kept off altercations between the two, Raila has been behaving like a state officer and sometimes issuing orders to public servents as his troops launch attacks on Ruto.

RAILA ATTACK

Ruto and his supporters have seized every opportunity to attack Raila and his ODM even accusing the opposition chief of importing confusion into Jubilee. 

Unlike before when Kenyatta and Ruto attended the same functions, even wore similar shirts and ties, the President has been conducting his activities alone and is reportedly not consulting the DP as much as he did in his first term.

On the other hand the President has appeared in functions with Raila even celebrated Raila’s birthday in Mombasa on January 7 and visited the Opposition leader in his Bondo home.

Musalia Mudavadi greets President Kenyatta at Moi Girls School in Vihiga in February. PHOTO/ PSCU

NEW FRIENDS?

The President has thrown the two politicians into further confusion by his relationship with ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi.

People close to the Head of State have told the Star that the President has been talking to Mudavadi, his childhood friend, frequently and even encouraging him to continue playing the role of Opposition leader.

During the Kenya Open golf event in Karen early this year, the two are understood to have held a two-hour meeting.

“The body language between the two suggested that they were on the same page,” said a source in the President’s team.

Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula says the President could swing a surprise because no one knows his plan.

“We do not know what the handshake is about. President is either being dishonest with Ruto or Raila. Both Ruto and Raila are operating in the dark, both trying to make intelligent guesses,” said Wetang’ula.

 Starehe MP Charles Njagua said the President is not in any dilemma as he has demonstrated his support for Mariga.

“The President has been clear who he is supporting. It is the other camp that is misguided,” Njagua said.

While Uhuru has avoided to publicly campaigning for Mariga for the November 7 by-election just as he did during the one in Wajir West, he has equally not denounced claims by a section of anti-Ruto forces that he is supporting ODM.

Belgut MP Nelson Koech challenged Uhuru to “put Jubilee’s house in order”, saying his silence has “created a perception that he is a lame-duck President.”

“While I know that the President is fully backing Mariga, it will be in the best interest not just of Jubilee but that of the country for him or through his communication department to come out to clear this confusion,” he said.

Dagoretti North MP John Kiarie dismissed claims Uhuru is not keen on Mariga’s candidacy, saying the Jubilee boss is firmly behind the football star.

“Jubilee has one candidate who was endorsed by President Uhuru Kenyatta himself. Those saying Mariga is not a Jubilee candidate are political rejects who were defeated in the last elections and are bitter with the DP,” Kiarie said.

Embakasi North MP James Gakuya said both Shebesh and Kamanda were embarrassing the President and called on the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua to crack the whip on her.

“Kamanda and Shebesh are misleading our supporters that the President does not support Mariga. It is unfortunate that they have been allowed to take that route and disciplinary action should be taken against them. The two should respect the President who is our party leader deputised by DP William Ruto,” he said.

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Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa caused a stir in a committee meeting after rejecting attempts to have Chief Administrative Secretary respond to his questions.

Barasa who was appearing before the National Assembly’s Health Committee chaired by Sabina Chege on Tuesday said the CAS position is not recognised in law.

The lawmaker insisted that only the Health Cabinet Secretary or in his absence Principal Secretary are mandated by law to appear before House committees to respond to questions from members.

“There is a good reason why we said that the person to appear before a committee must be either a policymaker or an accounting officer,” Barasa told the committee.

“The National Assembly is the apex of people’s sovereignty, I can’t allow the person who holds a position not defined in the Constitution. I am convinced 100 per cent of the Speaker’s ruling that whoever appears before the Committee should not be lower than the PS.”

Attempts by Committee members to prevail upon the lawmaker to give CAS a chance to read the CS’s signed response was futile.

CAS Rashid Aman was representing CS at the Health Committee.

Barasa had asked the CS to state statistics of cancer patients who have travelled outside the country in the last five years to seek treatment.

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How Mary Waithera, 67, ended up popping 17 pills a day is a cautionary tale on overprescription in Kenya. And her case is not the worst.

In 2015, a year after she was diagnosed with high blood pressure, she moved from taking two pills to manage her condition to 10 pills every day. She also ballooned from about 75 to 90kg. 

Having retired from teaching a few years earlier, Waithera had always enjoyed taking care of her cows and tending crops at her farm in Kinangop. But soon, this became impossible. Her knees were swollen and she would pant heavily after walking short distances. 

In a visit to her doctor at a mission hospital in Nyeri, Waithera was prescribed more pills, known as diuretics, to take at night to manage her knees problem.

“While the swelling reduced, I began to feel extremely fatigued and I lacked sleep. Most of the time I just sat in the house,” she says.

The fatigue was successfully managed with two daily pills. But now every day after eating, she would develop stomach discomforts. “This persistent sensation of wanting to vomit,” she says.

She received more pills in the next hospital visit. 

“But this was killing me; all I did was take medicine. It was a difficult schedule because some were to be taken once a day, others twice, others thrice,” she says.

“One Sunday, I limped to church but in the wrong direction for about 30 minutes, until people who knew me were puzzled when I said I was headed to our local church.”

“When I think about taking all these drugs, I feel like dying,” Gatundu farmer Willliam Njoroge, 65, who popped 19 pills a day before a review found he only needed six 

TIME TO SEEK HELP

Waithera was on the verge of giving up hope when her daughter, alarmed, took her to a professional doctor of pharmacy in December 2017.

“When we poured out all the medications she was taking in a day, the pills literally covered my table,” says Dr Joseph Kathare, a professional medication therapy management (MTM) pharmacist employed by the Kiambu government at Igegania Hospital.

Waithera was popping 17 different pills every day. She spent Sh30,000 every month to buy the drugs because most are not available in government facilities. 

“I did a comprehensive medication review. This means looking at her medical records and trying to justify each drug,” Dr Kathare says. 

“For this, I developed a personal medication list, personal medication problems and pharmacoeconomics of each drug. I also looked at the side-effects or adverse effects associated with each medication presently and in the future.” The entire process is called medication therapy management. 

Dr Kathare shared his report with the medics who had prescribed the medicines. He then reduced Waither’s prescription to just 10 drugs and later to only two, which she takes to manage her blood pressure.

“There is a tendency by prescribers and other non-pharmacists to prescribe medication for every symptom,”Dr Joseph Kathare

Dr Kathare says situations where a single patient takes a multitude of medicines — called polypharmacy — are rampant in almost all Kenyan health facilities.

Most victims are children and patients above 50 years, with at least one chronic condition like high blood pressure or diabetes. 

“Many of them are being killed by the risks associated with the many drugs they are taking, rather than the disease itself,” he says.

Dr Kathare discovered the mental disorientation, dizziness, joint pains, nausea and memory loss that Waithera suffered were not a progression of hypertension or another underlying condition but the result of inappropriate drugs and drug interactions.

“There is a tendency by prescribers and other non-pharmacists to prescribe medication for every symptom, and yet not every symptom requires a medication,” he says.

He explains that all drugs have side-effects, but these are often misinterpreted as a new disease problem, triggering more prescriptions.

The World Health Organisation says whenever a patient exceeds five daily drugs, that prescription must be evaluated by a qualified pharmacist.

A 2016 study by the University of London showed over a third of all medicines in Kenya are prescribed, dispensed or sold inappropriately, with many of them harming patients.

“Most of this harm is preventable,” says the WHO in its latest Medication Safety in Polypharmacy 2019 report.

“Adverse events (from drugs) are now estimated to be the 14th leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the world, putting patient harm in the same league as tuberculosis and malaria.”

WHO says polypharmacy harms patients through drug-drug interactions, increases the risk of medical errors and poor adherence by patients, reducing the quality of life and sometimes leading to death.

“Medication safety should start with appropriate prescribing and a thorough risk-benefit analysis of each medicine is often the first step,” says the WHO report.

DICLOFENAC SIDE-EFFECTS

It triggers multiple side-effects such as nausea, constipation, headache, dizziness, and drowsiness.

More serious reactions include stroke, high blood pressure and heart attack.

BAG FULL OF MEDICINE

Gatundu farmer Willliam Njoroge, 65, began with a few medicines to manage arthritis and hypertension.

In a year’s time, he suffered insomnia, had hallucinations and developed ankle oedema or swelling. 

“What I think is killing me is this paper bag I am carrying,” Njoroge said when he visited Dr Kathare for a medication review in January last year. 

“When I think about taking all these drugs, I feel like dying.” He took 19 different pills every day.

Dr Kathare, a well-known MTM champion, says 10 of those pills had the same active ingredient. Three other pills of different brands contained diclofenac to treat inflation and arthritis. 

Dr Kathare says due to lack of patient education on the medicines they are taking, some end up buying different brands of drugs from different chemists, yet they contain the same active constituent.

Diclofenac triggers multiple side-effects like nausea, constipation, headache, dizziness and drowsiness. More serious reactions include stroke, high blood pressure and heart attack.

“His hypertension had developed from the drugs he was taking for arthritis,” says Dr Kathare. 

“So I evaluated all the drugs and developed a report to show a justification. Out of 19 pills, he was left with only six. I also developed a target medication review meant to be shared with the patients’ physician.”

Dr Kathare says professionally, every prescription must be reviewed by a Mediation Therapy Management pharmacist to guide the prescriber on whether the patient is comfortable with the regimen, can afford the cost of those medicines and will adhere to the treatment.

In some instances, polypharmacy is inevitable, especially when managing multiple disease conditions.

“If there’s likely to be a drug interaction or potential dangerous adverse effect with the prescription, the MTM pharmacist in collaboration with the prescriber will change the prescription,” he says. 

But this review rarely happens due to lack of collaborative practice between the doctors of pharmacy and the prescribers, who may include medical doctors and other clinicians.

There’s also the influence of the pharmaceutical industry, whose sales agents offer various kickbacks to medics who prescribe their medicines in large volumes.

“Today everyone is prescribing, including student interns under no supervision, which should not happen, and these prescriptions are never evaluated by professional pharmacists.”

The Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board has registered about 3,000 qualified pharmacists in Kenya, the majority working in county hospitals.

Polypharmacy is also perpetuated by patients through self-medication by buying over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplements.

Dr Kathare advises patients to keep a careful record of which drugs they’re taking— including over-the-counter medications, family planning drugs, dietary supplements and herbal concoctions — and bring that list to every doctor visit.

WHO says when a patient’s drugs are reviewed and reduced, the quality of life improves within 30 days. 

The Medication in Polypharmacy Report 2019 says the process is not just about stopping some medicines but encompasses minimisation of dosage, number of tablets taken and frequency of administration times.

WHO advises countries to create national guidelines to control polypharmacy and promote medication therapy. 

Dr Joseph Kathare, a Medication Therapy Management (MTM) pharmacist with Kiambu government at Igegania Hospital
Dr Joseph Kathare, a Medication Therapy Management (MTM) pharmacist with Kiambu government at Igegania Hospital

In 2016, researchers from the University of London evaluated prescriptions in primary health facilities in Kenya and 10 other African countries and found that patients are given an average of three different drugs per hospital visit, unnecessarily, instead of the WHO-recommended two.

The study was published in the BMC Public Health journal under the title, “Prescribing indicators at primary health care centres within the WHO African region: a systematic analysis ( 1995–2015 )”.

“A generally high number of medicines prescribed per patient exceeding WHO reference value may point to polypharmacy as an increasing problem in Africa,” says the study.

The researchers said the problem will worsen as people live longer and people suffer multiple non-communicable diseases in their old age.

IT SAVES LIFE AND MONEY

Dr Kathare makes a strong economic case for medication therapy management.

“Think of a quack prescriber putting 10 patients on 10 pills a day, each pill costing Sh500, for six months or for one year. What do you think will be the economic impact on the patient and the nation at large? But if this patient can access MTM services before he religiously starts taking these medicines, a lot of interventions can help,” he says.

“MTM services are the solution for the nations’ escalating health care budget.”

In Kinangop, Waithera says she would spend Sh30,000 to buy medicines every month (about 500 pills every month).  This took away all her earnings from dairy farming.

After the pills were reduced to two every day, she now spends only Sh1,500 per month. 

“Now I’m back to my old self. I can work comfortably in the shamba and walk long distances. The confusion, nausea, fatigue are gone,” she says. 

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A man has been charged with allegedly taking and posting sexual videos and nude photos of an ex-lover on social media. 

Appearing before senior resident magistrate Martin Rabera on Monday, Omar Seif denied the charges and was released on Sh100,000 bond.

Seif told court he suffered from hernia and was supposed to be operated on at Mpeketoni, Lamu county. 

Rabera asked him if he would be able to take a plea as he seemed to be in pain but he told the court to proceed. 

The court directed that he seeks medical attention. 

Seif told the court that he was on medication and was required to be taken to hospital mornings and evenings for injections but he had missed his injections due to plea taking.

Sisters for Justice lobby group executive director Naila Abdhallah said cases of cyber bullying have become rampant, sometimes leading to victims to commit suicide.

She said many cases remain unreported because the victims are afraid of the incident going viral or even being exposed to close family members and friends therefore they opt to keep it a secret. 

Abdhalla said five cases have been reported at their offices. Cyber bullying cases mostly affect women and especially university students, she said.

She urged women to be very careful when they are in relationships. 

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