Monday, August 20th, 2018
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said he was “not interested in sending a statement” to their title rivals, after victory over hard-working Crystal Palace gave them a second successive Premier League win.
The Reds – who finished fourth, 25 points behind champions Manchester City, last season – were worthy winners at Selhurst Park and join five other teams, including City, on six points after two games.
James Milner gave them the lead with a penalty after Mohamed Salah was brought down by Mamadou Sakho in the closing seconds of the first half.
Palace had young defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka sent off with 15 minutes left after he brought down Salah when the Egyptian was through on goal.
And Sadio Mane wrapped up the points in injury time when he ran from his own half before rounding Wayne Hennessey to score.
The Eagles had chances, and Andros Townsend curled an effort on to the bar after a mistake by the otherwise impressive Naby Keita.
“I am not interested in sending a statement to Manchester City or anyone else,” Klopp said. “I want to win football games and that’s what we did.”
The Reds manager said he was unconcerned by City’s 6-1 win over Huddersfield – or any other result.
“It’s very early,” said the German. “I couldn’t care less really. We are not in a race with other Premier League teams each weekend.
“It is too strong to say anything after two match days. You can discuss whatever you want – just do it without us.”
Palace manager Roy Hodgson was furious with the penalty decision – but accepted Wan-Bissaka’s red card.
For the penalty, former Liverpool defender Sakho put his arms on Salah and then had two attempts to trip the forward, who went down.
“We probably did enough to get a result but that was taken from us,” Hodgson told BBC Sport. “I don’t think it was a penalty. I’m angered that a good result was taken from us.”
The Premier League is the only one of Europe’s top five leagues not to use video assistant referees this season – but even if a VAR official or referee Michael Oliver had the option of watching it again, it may not have been overturned.
The same was true when Wan-Bissaka clipped Salah before he could reach the penalty area. The Egyptian had possibly lost control before the tackle came, and some fans were not convinced about the decision, but Sutton said the referee had “no choice”.
Hodgson agreed. “Wan-Bissaka catches him,” he said. “I don’t think he tried to pull him down but there was contact and he pulled him down. It was the right decision. He was the last man and did his best to rescue the situation. In another game he might have got a toe on the ball. I don’t blame him at all.”
All government agencies have been directed to carry out a staff audit amid a move to replace the growing number of staff exiting the public service.
The data is supposed to be compiled and submitted to the Ministry of Public Service by September 28.
Public Service Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia said the move is part of the government’s efforts to strengthen the civil service, saying the current capacity gaps, agency work force and inadequate succession must urgently be addressed.
“It is, therefore, proposed that each ministry undertakes a comprehensive review of its internal staff strength and the gaps or vacancies that exist at job group R and S per cadre,” reads a circular by Prof Kobia to all ministries and Attorney-General Paul Kihara dated August 8.
The ministries have also been asked to identify suitable officers, currently serving under them in job group P-Q but with requisite qualifications, skills and competences thus merit promotion to be promoted to job groups R and S. Those in job group M and N will take the vacancies in job group P.
Prof Kobia said her ministry and the Public Service Commission will work on a criteria for succession management in the mainstream civil service and effect the promotion of the identified staff from ministries.
“This will therefore create space for recruitment and training of young professionals at entry and any other available levels within the civil service structure to rejuvenate the service,” said the CS.
She said it is envisaged that the exercise once completed will strengthen and enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the public service in order to deliver its mandate to Kenyans’ expectations.
Prof Kobia said as currently composed, the civil service has glaring weaknesses in its performance hindering its adequate delivery of the national government agenda.
She said there are capacity gaps at various technical levels within the public service structure particularly at middle and higher levels due to inadequate succession management, high staff turnover in critical technical skills, negative work culture and attitudes and staffing imbalances between support staff and technical personnel.
WEAK STAFF STRENGTH
“At a glance, the current civil service data shows a weak staff strength of 63,368 in post against an establishment of 96,036. The implication is that the mainstream civil service is currently operating at 65 per cent of its optimal staff strength,” she said.
The matter has been complicated by the fact that a blanket moratorium by the Treasury on hiring is still in place.
The new rules on zoning of sugarcane growing are attracting both support and opposition from leaders with private millers being against the regulations.
So far, former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale has been leading campaigns in the region opposing the proposal which he claims will affect private millers supporting the economy of the area after the two State-owned millers, Mumias and Nzoia, sunk in debt.
Dr Khalwale insisted that cane farmers, just like maize growers, should be left to find their own market.
“The regulations will impact negatively on thousands of farmers who toil to produce cane on their farms, especially in areas where millers are grappling with their operations,” he said as Cotu boss Francis Atwoli led a group of leaders to support the initiative.
“For Chemelil, Muhoroni, Mumias and other government supported sugar companies to keep on grinding we must have zoning in place and we should all support it.,” Mr Atwoli told a gathering in Kisumu.
“There must be a mechanism of keeping away sugar cane poachers who leave local industries with no cane,” he said.
In the recently gazetted regulations, there is a proposal to review agriculture policies in consultation with cane farmers.
In the rules, county governments will be involved in demarcation of new plantation boundaries for the various millers in Nyando, Transmara, South Nyanza, Coastal and Western sugar belts.
On Monday, Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga told the Nation that they had argued for zoning as one of the policy changes for counties to take on the role of managing State-owned millers.
He said the Lake Region Economic Bloc was pulling resources together to and will partner with investors to run sugar factories in the bloc.
Mumias Sugar Company acting managing director Patrick Chebos said zoning will ensure each miller develops own cane and work with farmers without encroachment from another operated.
Kakamega deputy governor Philip Kutima said the rule will only affect farmers who are contracted with millers.
“The rest are free to take their cane to a factory of their choice,” said Prof Kutima at Imbale secondary in Ikolomani sub-county.
The cultural practice where men while away the time sitting under trees, leaving the burden of providing for the family to women, has led to increased malnutrition in West Pokot.
The practice leaves women burdened with domestic and other chores, so they have little time to look for food.
The county has the highest malnutrition rate in the country, with a stunting rate of 45.9 percent, compared with the national figure of 35 per cent, according to the Demographic Health Report 2014.
Ministry of Health statistics indicate that Kapenguria District Hospital, the region’s main referral facility, receives 70 to 100 malnourished children every month.
County Nutrition Officer Jane Limang’ura said households should strive to have enough food to reduce malnutrition.
“Mothers sell milk and give their children black tea,” she noted. “They should buy nutritious food because they do not feed their children the way they should.
Ms Limang’ura encouraged mothers to set up income-generating activities so that they can get money to buy food.
“We urge mothers to prioritise nutrition in their homes,” she said and appealed to mothers to feed their children properly for the first 100 days.
But she noted that the government has instituted measures to mitigate the situation.
“We have a mother-to-mother support programme, where we have more than 100 support groups, baby-friendly initiatives, screening and referrals, and integrated outreaches,” she said.
ACCESS TO HEALTH FACILITIES
The noted that poor access to health facilities, coupled with low demand, also contributes to the increase in malnutrition.
“The uptake is very low because negative cultural values prevent the community from seeking medical services. They lack information hence perform rituals,” she said.
“They should stop giving their children traditional herbs and not wait for a long time before taking them to hospital,” she said.
“We have high numbers in hospital during the dry season,” she said.
She called on mothers to refer all malnutrition cases to health centres and to take their children for monitoring.
Meanwhile, Word Vision Programme Manager Titus Kaprom called on the county government to support nutrition programmes in the area.
“We need concerted efforts to reduce malnutrition,” he said.
Mr Kaproom asked the government to allocate special funds for nutrition in the next financial year to help mitigate malnutrition among pastoral communities
Speaking to the Nation, women from Alale in North Pokot Sub-county confirmed they are their families’ breadwinners.
They revealed that they have embraced family planning so that they can have the number of children they can feed because “the men don’t care about their children”.
“It is hard to feed many children and mothers should embrace family planning. Mothers also don’t observe cleanliness and give leftover foods to their children,” said Ms Jane Cheptoo.
Another mother, Ms Saumu Abraman, said mothers in the area are forced to go and dig for gold and look for money so that they can feed their children.
The ongoing demolition of structures and evictions in Nairobi on the grounds that some are sitting on riparian land or space meant for public utilities comes ahead of the Prospects and Opportunities for Restoration in Africa Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) due at the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) headquarters in Nairobi on August 29 and 30.
More than 800 multi-sector stakeholders from across Africa and around the world, along with at least 30,000 online participants, will engage in the event coordinated by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Unep and the World Bank.
Of late, Kenya has banned plastic bags and initiated other relevant legal and policy measures under the Constitution and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
BIG FOUR AGENDA
For instance, among the President’s ‘Big Four’ agenda is food security, which is hinged on improved land management, including in urban areas, environmental protection and promotion of the circular economy.
The Unep has advised that to revitalise agriculture, countries need first-rate urbanisation and environmentally sound infrastructure growth, a space for conservation and protected areas and the latest techniques in agriculture and irrigation that increase efficiency and resilience and reduce waste while removing the temptation to plough more land.
While the Nairobi regeneration team has been re-organising the city as directed by the President — who gave it 30 days, which have since expired — the fact that country will be hosting such a high-profile meeting could have a hand in the intervention.
Almost 50 million hectares of land is degraded in Africa every year. Its restoration and environmental protection are among the targets of the Paris agreement, to which Kenya is a signatory.
In addition to the evictions in the Mau Forest and Kibera and demolitions across Nairobi, Kenya is also involved in massive tree planting and a host of other activities.
Recognising the devastating impact of climate change, the environment has been accorded the highest legal provision and prioritised in the Constitution.
Interventions include enacting the Climate Change Act 2016, amending the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act 1999, and development of the National Adaptation Action Plan (2013-17).
In addition are sectoral initiatives to address the impact of climate change and strengthen the resilience of communities, as well as the development of policy documents such as the National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS 2010).
GLF is gaining traction and member states are eager to entrench practical, continuous cycles of land use and restoration. Studies show good land use management is central to the climate change effort.
Whether Kenya’s actions are a coincidence or are intended to showcase environmental protection efforts is yet to be seen. But it would have been a shame to host such a meeting without showing any practical land restoration.
Mr Bwire works at the Media Council of Kenya and trains on environmental journalism. [email protected]
There is every need for a concerted effort by national and county governments to aggressively raise awareness about population control through deliberate effective family planning, even as a national population census is planned for August next year.
The economic survey report of 2018 puts Kenya’s population at 46.6 million and expected to grow by almost a million next year, going by the annual average growth rate of 1.2 million over the past five years.
Population has a huge bearing on many government decisions and policies on social, economic and political facets.
For instance, the success or failure of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ‘Big Four’ agenda — affordable housing, universal health coverage (UHC), food security and revamped manufacturing — depends largely on the size of the country’s population.
RAPID POPULATION GROWTH
Whereas family planning has taken root in urban settings, specifically among the elites, the services have, disappointingly, remained unavailable to most other Kenyans.
That has contributed immensely to rapid population growth at a rate that has been constant since 2013.
The trajectory appears to maintain the same momentum, meaning it could be 59 million by 2030!
Since the introduction of family planning services, certain challenges have persistently hampered the government’s efforts to achieve the target of a 58 per cent uptake by 2020.
It was recently observed that Kenya is one of the most highly populated countries in Africa and that its population growth is much faster than that of the economy.
That threatens the health gains made and poses a big obstacle in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Vision 2030.
There are, therefore, fears that development initiatives such as UHC could remain a pipe dream despite efforts such as hiring Cuban doctors to offer specialist medical services in the country.
The doctor-to-patient ratio recommended by World Health Organization (WHO) of 1:1,000 might not be achieved.
This is because the number of medics qualifying every year may not match the population growth rate and, more importantly, access to healthcare will remain elusive to Kenyans owing to few facilities far away from home.
WILD GOOSE CHASE
Besides, UHC is much more than access to healthcare facilities and an adequate number of health providers.
According to the WHO, it means that citizens should access promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services of sufficient quality without undergoing financial hardship. It is thus easy to see why, without stringent population control, UHC will be a wild goose chase.
The housing agenda might not fare any better. While the government intends to construct adequate affordable housing for citizens, the rate of population grows does not seem to be in tandem with the plans.
Besides, the President has set a four-year ultimatum to achieve this momentous task. However, the runaway population growth rate does not, in any way, mean the government is not addressing it.
Kenya is among African countries that have adopted and developed a number of population policies and strategies to address challenges to population management.
It has assented to both global and regional agreements, such as International Conference on Population Development, as well as the Maputo, Abuja and Family Planning 2020 protocols. The biggest challenge is implementation.
A 2014 study by Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (DSW) on the unmet needs for family planning in Kenya, particularly in Kilifi and West Pokot counties, found that poor access to family planning commodities, over-reliance on donor funding, inadequate service provision and low male involvement in family planning as the reasons for them.
Inadequate funds is another reason for lack of or little implementation of family planning programmes. Budgetary allocation to health is still below the recommended 15 per cent, hence the over-reliance on donor funds.
The government must, therefore, sufficiently fund the implementation of family planning services.
The involvement of men can be boosted through persistent sustainable public education as that will greatly address religious and cultural resistance.
Achievement of the MDGs, Big Four and Vision 2030 will depend on a leaner population.
At this time when we are consumed by sterile debate on what a pair of ethnic kingpins and their respective mindless hordes owe or don’t owe each other, a man died to whom each and every Kenyan owes a debt of gratitude.
Were it not for former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, Kenya might well have gone the way of Rwanda, Cambodia, Somalia, Sierra Leone, the former Yugoslavia, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire and other countries that have at different times in the recent past been torn apart by civil war, genocide and ethnic pogroms.
Dr Annan’s persistence, tact and diplomacy was largely responsible for delivering Kenya, and all Kenyans, from the jaws of hades.
He brokered the peace deal that brought to a halt the 2007-2008 butchery in the wake of a disputed presidential election.
There is no telling what might have befallen this country had it not been pulled back from the brink. Kenya would probably not be in existence today.
Dr Annan shepherded the settlement as head of a multinational effort involving the African Union, the East African Community and the United Nations.
The outcome was deal that halted the violence and underpinned the peace through establishment of a Government of National Unity by which President Mwai Kibaki shared power with Opposition leader Raila Odinga coming into government as Prime Minister.
This is, of course, debatable but many insist that the forced ‘marriage’ produced the best government Kenya has ever had, one that, with all its frictions, came with built-in checks and balances and also delivered the landmark 2010 Constitution.
It therefore beggars belief that there are many in Kenyan leadership who not only refuse to acknowledge the role Dr Annan played in saving the country from itself but still bear deep grudges because they were called to account for their suspected roles in the shameful episode of post-election violence.
In that regard, the condolence message from President Uhuru Kenyatta was extremely churlish.
Mr Kenyatta completely refused to acknowledge the role played by Dr Annan in delivering this country from bloodshed and terror and securing the peace that left him a country worth running. He mourned (or pretended to mourn) Dr Annan merely as a former UN secretary-general, with not the slightest reference to his pivotal intervention at a most critical period in Kenya.
That statement lacked grace and class and was absolutely unbecoming of President Kenyatta, who is otherwise a decent and honourable man.
It read more like the immature outpourings of the uneducated rabble that often causes so much damage from within the President’s court.
Of course one might want justify President Kenyatta abiding bitterness and hostility towards Dr Annan.
He was, along with Deputy President William Ruto, among the six charged at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity out of Kenya’s descent into post-election violence.
Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto were set free for lack of evidence following a spectacularly inept prosecution driven by then-ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and his successor Fatou Bensouda.
It was a prosecution that should never have been launched, given the paucity of evidence and eventual freedom for the ‘Ocampo Six’ was predictable from the start.
President Kenyatta and his supporters obviously still harbour a great deal of bitterness. But they forget a few things.
First, Dr Annan was not the prosecutor; he merely conveyed Mr Moreno-Ocampo’s list of suspects following failure of the Kenyan government to establish a local inquiry into the violence.
Secondly, it was Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto who elected to be tried at The Hague, openly expressing their distrust of a local mechanism and opining that the ICC would move so slowly that it would never deliver justice. Their mantra at the time, borrowed from the legendary advertising slogan of a Scotch whisky, was “Don’t be Vague, ask for Hague”.
They went to The Hague, and thus have no one to blame but themselves.
Everything else about the prosecution being driven by forces out to derail their presidential quests and deliver State House to Mr Odinga is pure irrational balderdash and vicious political propaganda.
If anything, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto owe a debt of gratitude to Dr Annan, Mr Moreno-Ocampo, Ms Bensouda and anyone else they think played a part in the ICC indictments.
It was the case that not only reunited them after fighting on opposite sides in 2007 but also laid the platform for a spectacularly successful exploitation of the ‘victim’ narrative.
President Kenyatta may have his personal grudges but Kenya owes Dr Annan a more graceful send-off.
Counties have been warned against buying drugs from suppliers who have not been cleared by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB).
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said some counties have looked for other suppliers after defaulting on payment to the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa).
“Getting other suppliers after defaulting on payments to Kemsa is only a temporary solution that will harm the counties’ efforts to supply quality medicines and non- pharmaceutical products,” she said.
Ms Kariuki said the alternative suppliers may not be as qualified as Kemsa, thus posing a great risk to Kenyans who may be exposed to substandard drugs.
“It is no use running away from the authority that counties have been engaging for years. It is the counties’ responsibility to clear the debts. They should make an effort to meet their obligations and ensure they restore the trust and normal supplies to health facilities,” the CS said.
She said such moves by counties could become an obstacle to the country’s efforts to achieve the universal health coverage, which is a key pillar of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda.
Ms Kariuki was speaking on Friday during the release of a report by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) on the systems, policies, procedures and practices in the pricing of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical supplies in the public health sector.
The EACC report revealed that some counties were buying drugs from unauthorised entities.
Muranga County, for instance, has been marked for outsourcing drugs from private pharmacies yet the devolved unit owes Kemsa Sh46 million that has been pending for three years.
The private pharmacies have also stopped supplying the county with drugs because of huge debts.
Other counties include Narok and Migori that owe Kemsa Sh104 million and Sh58 million respectively.
Kemsa is currently owed Sh1.8 billion by the counties.
The authority has maintained Muranga County will have to clear its arrears before any order is supplied.
According to Kemsa CEO Jonah Mwangi, counties procure 70 per cent of drugs and 30 per cent of non-pharmaceutical items.
He said he was worried about the quality of non-pharmaceutical items being procured from other sources.
“We have had several cases of low standard syringes and gloves in the market; this is because most of them are procured from other entities. We are working closely with regulatory boards to regulate the market and to ensure that we give Kenyans quality services,” Dr Mwangi said.
Ms Emma Chege, the EACC deputy director Prevention, said the survey discovered that there is no list of suppliers licensed by PPB to manufacture and distribute non-pharmaceutical supplies in Kenya that counties could use as a reference in procuring medicines.
“This (situation) has led to the procurement of all forms of supplies and drugs, some of which are of very poor quality. They include syringes and needles which break while being used, causing medical complications,” Ms Chege said.
She asked the ministry to ensure that it publishes the list to reduce cases of counties buying substandard drugs from dubious suppliers.
According to the survey, the government last renewed the Kenya Essential Medicines List in 2012, hence leaving room for more suppliers not accredited to fill the market.
The survey noted that various facilities in the country were not linked to a central database that could alert county procurement heads of stockouts (shortage of drugs and non-pharmaceuticals).
It called on counties to set up digital medical supply monitoring systems for easier and more client-focused management.
Kemsa has lifted the ban on Nairobi, Kilifi, Homa Bay and Trans Nzoia counties after reaching an agreement.
Kilifi has written a commitment letter to clear Sh78 million arrears in full once the new financial year reopens.
Trans Nzoia will clear Sh41 million by paying Sh30 million in the first instalment once the system is operational.
Homa Bay will clear its arrears of Sh81 million and Nairobi County will service its outstanding debt of Sh234 million in Sh30 million monthly instalments.
“We have resumed business with both Nairobi and Trans Nzoia counties by supplying medical commodities. This will mark the end to the medical commodities dry spell that has seen an uproar in the counties,” Dr Mwangi said.
This, he said, followed intense discussions with Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. Kemsa last supplied Nairobi with drugs in February 2017.
The stalemate led to months of drug shortages in various public health facilities, forcing thousands of residents to spend exorbitantly on drugs supplied by private pharmacies.
Dr Mwangi was speaking during the flagging off of essential medicines and medical supplies worth Sh146.5 million that will be distributed to 102 facilities in the county.
As the drug shortage in public health facilities continues to bite, the Ministry of Health (MoH)) has reassured Kenyans of continued supplies of essential HIV drugs and test kits. The shortage is due to failure by some counties to pay for drugs they received from the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa).
In a press statement to newsrooms on Monday, the ministry said it had the situation under control, but admitted there had been delays in the delivery of a consignment containing the drugs and kits.
The statement, signed by Health Principal Secretary Peter Tum, sought to allay fears of an impending shortage caused by delays in the consignment’s delivery; the drugs, test kits and other supplies were ordered in October, 2017.
DELAYS IN DELIVERY
“There were delays in the delivery of 540,730 patient packs of ATV/r due to global supply constraints of raw materials or active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs),” said the PS, adding that payment for the deliveries was also delayed: “Since the deliveries had not been made by June 30, 2018, the payment was rescheduled for processing in the 2018/2019 financial year.”
He said the supplier had committed to supply 42,000 packs of the ARVs by July 30, and they are already in the county. Another 250,000 units are due by August 24, with the final batch expected to arrive on September 30.
“We would like to emphasise that there are no current, or impending, shortages of any category of ARVs as we still have 15 months’ stock. For this particular consignment of ATV/r, we have firm assurance that the supplier will complete all deliveries by September 30, 2018,” said statement.
Currently, 1.1 million Kenyans are on HIV treatment, with an estimated 1.6 million infected. Prevalence among adults stands at 5.4 per cent of the population, according to t UNAIDS, with 36,000 Aids-related deaths and 62,000 new infections every year.
For urban counties such as Nairobi, parking is a potential source of revenue that is just poorly managed.
It is, therefore, hardly surprising to learn that the city county loses more than Sh2 million daily in revenue because of laxity and collusion between parking attendants and some motorists.
One of the biggest challenges is the acute shortage of parking spaces, especially in the city centre.
This is what discourages many motorists who would comfortably buy season tickets.
It simply does not make sense to pay in advance and then fail to get parking space.
The solution is to invest in some storied parking silos or create special parking zones with improved security and many motorists will only be too willing to pay for it.
The second challenge is charging a flat daily parking fee of Sh300, which even people who have brief engagements that will only take a few minutes must pay.
Nairobi had metered bays that worked well but were left to run into disuse, with some being vandalised.
Perhaps the county should explore the possibility of re-installing metered bays or allow motorists to pay for a specific period of time.
The mismanagement of parking has created gangs of goons who extort money from motorists that does not reach the county’s coffers.
According to the company contracted to digitise the city county’s revenue collection, if well-managed, it’s possible to collect much more from parking than the average Sh2.5 million it fetches daily. With compliance at only 43 per cent, the county is letting ready revenue slip through its fingers.
To improve compliance, the city county must invest some capital and human resource to enable it to streamline the parking service.
Asking motorists to pay more without guaranteeing the safety of their motor vehicles is callous business, to say the least.