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SHOCKING!!!!! Zimbabwe has a ‘Minister of WhatsApp’

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Zimbabweans jokingly refer to the newlyZimbabweans jokingly refer to the newly appointed cyber security czar as the “Minister of WhatsApp”.

A spoof government notice hit social media as soon as President Robert Mugabe announced he had set up a new ministry responsible for Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation.

Zimbabweans reacted with customary humour to the letter, which faked the signature and letterhead of the newly appointed cyber minister – Patrick Chinamasa – and instructed all WhatsApp group members to register with the ministry by November.

The letter was signed “By The Cyber Powers Vested In Me”.

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Why capital city needs leaders with more substance than style

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By KALTUM GUYO
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In the latest United Nations survey on human development, Kenya ranks 142nd out of 189. In another report on the liveable cities; Nairobi, sadly, does not feature.

If you wonder why, I can tell you it is all in the pepper spray. If it is any consolation, the UN report indicates that Kenya is up one position from the last time on the ‘Human Development Index’.

According to the UN, the “perception of individual well-being” is based on polling responses on “quality of education, healthcare and living standards, along with a sense of personal safety and freedom of choice”.

We all have our views on the living standards of Nairobians — depending on where you stand on the political divide.

However, I do not hold my breath that things will improve for Nairobi any time soon, given the level of poor governance exhibited time and again.

I have written in these pages on how we find it easier to turn to anger and violence to solve even the slightest of misunderstandings.

The type of fist-fights and kicks and punches we saw during the impeachment of the Speaker of the Nairobi County Assembly is stuff for a nursery school playground.

Even then, pupils had to be admonished in order to learn to grow up and behave with decorum.

GLARING CHALLENGES
Nairobi has many glaring challenges that should be the priority for any county government in charge. Top on the list should be the security of the residents. Not a day passes without reading or hearing of violent robberies in the city and its environs.

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But insecurity is not something new in Nairobi. At one time it got so bad that the city was nicknamed ‘Nairobbery”. It is not a flattering name to have but we still are reminded of it wherever we go.

I am not hopeful that insecurity can be tackled in Nairobi when its governance team places priorities over who has the right to travel first class over service delivery.

It seems that it is hell-bent on redefining corruption by introducing an illness that can only be cured by flying first class.

What is the point of travelling then, if one’s illness is so debilitating?

MIRACLES HAPPEN
I am still struggling to understand the plague whose cure is a first-class ticket around the world. As miracles happen, it only seems to afflict the rich and powerful. If there is any justice in the world, we should all catch it.
We now live in a world that is interconnected through information technology. A lot of the benchmarking mania, even to Mombasa, can be reduced by relying on the Internet to solve many alleged ills befalling the city or, indeed, the country.

Ours is a city that lacks compassion and honesty. Compassion that would enable the city county team to learn to walk in the shoes of its residents so that they can understand where there are pressing needs and prioritise them.

One way of doing that is to ensure participation of the public is sought and their ideas implemented. Who would be better placed to give an honest opinion of a neighbourhood than the resident?

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BETTER START
Honesty is discerned through the leadership that provides the services it promised voters; services that even the state official would be proud to use. Having schools and hospitals fit for all would be a better start.

I have never witnessed a greater sense of insensitivity and irony than when Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko goes around public hospitals in the city berating the workers for poor services and corruption, and then turns around and visits one of his county executives in the private Nairobi Hospital.

Why the senior county official was not at Mbagathi Hospital was the question on my mind. Why preach water but drink wine? If Mbagathi is not fit for the county minister, how is it for the rest of us?

Insecurity thrives in an environment with limited opportunities for residents — be it employment, housing, roads, transport, quality schools and hospitals.

The cities that came on top of the liveable cities had scored very highly on provision of key services to the residents.

Insecurity in Nairobi is so bad that even the transport system has become a harbinger of it. Being attacked in a matatu on your way from work has become the norm and it should not be. This demonstrates that one poor service has a knock-on effect on all others.

Leading a city is not to be valued by the number of flashy cars in your entourage, your shiny suit or first-class ticket to nowhere but the quality of your services. Leading through style is recipe for failure and undermines the efforts of hard-working voters.

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If the current “governance by chaos” continues in the city county, it might be worth considering an alternative in a non-political permanent ‘City Management Team’.

Nairobi needs it to prosper. The city county’s politics is neck-deep in pursuit of individual interests and it can’t help it to excel to the list of liveable cities any time soon. It is time for leadership with substance.

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Report on Kemsa calls for thorough shake-up

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By EDITORIAL
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The latest audit report on the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency is alarming. Its drug management system and financial expenditure are horrible.

In the financial year ending June 2017, Kemsa kept in its stores expired medicines worth Sh100 million. It also had more than Sh350 million in unspent cash meant for drugs.

Here are two sets of paradoxes. First, the agency that is responsible for procuring and distributing drugs has no shame keeping expired medicines, the danger notwithstanding. It also knows all too well the perennial drug shortage in the public health facilities.

How, then, could it keep such a consignment in its stores when it should have distributed the drugs to the facilities on time? Where will it take the consignment? And at what cost? This is a complete waste of public resources.

The second paradox is that although it understands that health facilities require drugs, Kemsa does not spend the cash allocated for medicines. How does it organise its work plan? What is the plan for procurements?

This is not the first time we have had such appalling reports on the agency. Not long ago, it had to burn a huge consignment of expired drugs that had been withdrawn from counties and which had cost the taxpayers a lot of money.

Something is awfully wrong at Kemsa and the Ministry of Health and the various oversight agencies ought to take a special interest in the goings-on at the agency.

Access to affordable healthcare is predicated on proper planning and coordination. It starts with disease prevention, well-equipped clinics with qualified medical professionals, proper diagnosis of diseases, accurate prescriptions and availability of medicines. Any gap along the chain could be catastrophic.

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We are cognisant of the variables at play. Among these is the inability of counties to buy and pay for drugs from Kemsa due to their perennial financial difficulties.

At one point, the agency even stopped supplying drugs to the counties because they had defaulted in payment for supplies.

But in this day and age, when firms operate modern procurement practices — where just-on-time supply is the norm — why can’t Kemsa organise itself properly to do exactly that to avoid holding unnecessary stocks?

The reason Kemsa was set up was to consolidate the procurement of medical supplies and enable the government to benefit from economies of scale and as well as streamline stock distribution. The principle is valid, but its implementation is proving cumbersome, hence calling to question its continued viability.

This is a sensitive process that must be executed judiciously. Kemsa should review and streamline its processes henceforth.

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Obado to take murder plea as hunt on more killers goes on :: Kenya

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Residents of Uriri town protest against the detention of Governor Zachary Obado yesterday. Obado was arrested on Friday last week and is expected in court today. [Caleb Kingwara, Standard]

Migori Governor Okoth Obado is expected to face murder charges today in connection with the death of Rongo University student Sharon Otieno.

Mr Obado, who spent three nights at the Gigiri Police Station cells, is expected to take plea.

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Reports indicate that the prosecution intends to oppose his release on bail, citing risk of interference with witnesses.

Yesterday, one of his lawyers, Cliff Ombeta, said his defence team was aware of “the scheme”.

“Bail is his (Obado’s) constitutional right. We will fight for it. No one can take it away,” said Mr Ombeta.

The lawyer said the governor was ready for the case.

“We are ready to see what they bring. The governor is doing well and in good spirits,” he said.

Stay informed while on the go by subscribing to the Standard Group SMS service. Text the word ‘NEWS’ to 22840.

Solitary confinement

Reports indicate that Obado has been in solitary confinement after being isolated from other detainees. Police said this was for his own safety. His cell had a mattress and blanket brought in by his family.

Police have also been instructed not to allow anyone to visit him except his immediate family and lawyers.

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Migori Governor Obado to be charged with murder

Yesterday, the governor’s wife, Hellen, and two children were allowed to see him in the presence of detectives.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) said it had evidence to link the governor to the abduction and subsequent murder of Sharon.

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The detectives have been investigating whether the governor could have been at the scene of the killing.

“That will be answered in court when we start the case. Wait and see,” said an officer who asked not to be named.

Obado has denied any involvement in the killing, saying, in his statement to the police, that he was away in Nairobi when it happened.

Police said they were still looking for more suspects.

Three different teams of detectives have been investigating the September 3 killing and have all come to the conclusion that the governor is a suspect.

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Reports indicate that at least two other suspects have adversely mentioned Obado.

An analysis of telephone communication is also said to have led to the governor’s arrest last Friday shortly after he had recorded a statement at the DCI headquarters in Nairobi for the second time.

Detectives said a car used in the abduction of Sharon from Rongo town belonged to one of Obado’s aides who is in custody.

Taxi business

Other reports indicate that on the day of the murder, the driver who had been using the car for taxi business in Migori, was ordered to switch off its tracking system.

The system was switched on three days after the incident. The car, a Toyota Fielder, has been sent to DCI headquarters for forensic analysis.

The driver told police that he was not privy to the murder plot.

Another suspect, Caspal Obiero, who runs errands for the governor, presented himself to the police on Tuesday after the car he drives was linked to the killing.

The governor’s other assistant, Michael Oyamo, has been in custody.

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Detectives have been trying to determine whether the governor’s two aides and three other suspects in custody acted on their own or whether there were others involved.

Reports indicate that police offered to prefer lesser charges against some suspects in return for information.

Oyamo and former Kanyadoto MCA Lawrence Mula have already been charged with the murder.

Among the options being considered is to charge suspects who have cooperated with the lesser offence of conspiracy to commit murder and turn them into State witnesses.

 

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