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Covid-19 response: Muturi, Lusaka take pay cut

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DAVID MWERE

By DAVID MWERE
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The two Speakers of Parliament have announced a 30 percent voluntary pay cut in response to the fight against the coronavirus crisis.

Speakers Justin Muturi (National Assembly) and Ken Lusaka (Senate) made the three-month commitment during a joint media briefing Thursday.

By Thursday afternoon members of the two Houses were yet to agree to take pay cut.

According to the a gazette notice issued by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) in July 2017, the Speakers of the National Assembly and the Senate are entitled to Sh1,155,000 in monthly gross income.

This means that Mr Muturi and Mr Lusaka will now take home Sh805,500 for the next two months.

Before the voluntary reduction is implemented, the two Speakers are required to formally write to SRC indicating their desire to have their salaries slashed.

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SRC, the state agency in charge of remuneration of state and public officers, will then communicate to the National Treasury indicating the desires of the two Speakers.

“We have directed the clerks of the two Houses to write to the relevant government agencies expressing our desires to have our salaries reduced so that the proceeds can go towards the coronavirus kitty,” said Mr Lusaka.

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On Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that he and Deputy President William Ruto have taken 80 percent in a bid to free up more funds for the fight against the deadly Covid-19 virus.

Mr Kenyatta announced the cuts, headlining a list that includes Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries.

Under the voluntary salary cuts Cabinet Secretaries will earn Sh646,000 or 30 percent less and Principal Secretaries Sh612,150 or 20 percent less per month.

The President called on other State officers to take similar cuts and free up more funds.

“In sharing the burden occasioned by the global health pandemic over the duration of the crisis and commencing immediately my administration has offered a salary reduction of the senior rank executives,” the President said.

“I call on other arms of government and tiers of government to join us in this national endeavour by making similar voluntary reductions which will free up monies to combat this pandemic.”

The confirmed Covid-19 cases in Kenya rose by three cases Wednesday, bringing the tally to 28. At least 700 people who came into contact with the patients remain under close monitoring by the Ministry of Health.

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Kenya’s Covid-19 cases rise to 81 as 22 test positive

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DAILY NATION

By DAILY NATION
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Kenya has confirmed 22 more coronavirus cases bringing the national total to 81.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said 13 of the new patients are male and nine are female.

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The patients include 18 Kenyans, two Pakistani and two Cameroonian citizens, CS Kagwe said Wednesday afternoon during the daily coronavirus briefing.

The Health minister further said that 21 of the new cases were in quarantine.

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Driver accused of killing changamwe police officer arrested – Nairobi News

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The driver suspected of deliberately causing an accident that killed a traffic officer who had boarded his vehicle in Changamwe has been arrested.

Changamwe sub-county police boss Ali Ndiema said the suspect identified as Samuel Mutia was arrested on board a Mombasa – Machakos bus after a tip-off from members of the public and is being held in Mutomo police station, Kitui County, awaiting transfer to Mombasa.

According to a police report, the driver intentionally rammed the lorry into the rear of a truck killing constable George Aluoch instantly.

Aluoch had boarded the vehicle to escort it to the police station after a traffic offence when the driver rammed the rear of the trailer.

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He fled the scene one motorcycle and escaped by bus but was arrested on Tuesday.

The victim had worked as a traffic police officer in Changamwe since 2015.

The accident occurred along Airport Port Reitz Road.

Ndiema said the body of the deceased has been transported to his family in Siaya County for burial.

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Kenya Rugby League Dreams Big

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The Kenya Rugby League (KRL) is already dreaming of taking a team to the 2025 Rugby League World Cup, a month after the first tournament was played in Nairobi.

KRL chairman Richard Nyakwaka said plans were underway for an international test match series against South Africa and Spain in September this year in Nairobi, before the novel coronavirus interrupted the schedule.

Nyakwaka noted that it’s not too early to face continental powerhouse South Africa, who last took part at the Rugby League World Cup in 2000, if they really want to achieve their target.

Rugby league is a full-contact sport played by two teams of 13 players on a rectangular field measuring 68m wide and 112-122 m long. However, the rugby union has two teams of 15 each, while the pitch measures 100m long and 69m wide.

Rugby league has no mauls, rucks and lineouts, while scrums are not contested. So basically, it’s a faster code of play unlike in rugby union.

Australia has dominated the Rugby League World Cup winning 12 out of the 16 editions of the event with Great Britain winning three, including the inaugural 1954 championship hosted by France.

New Zealand won the other event in 2008, halting Australia, who won six consecutive editions. The Aussies triumphed in the last edition of the World Cup that they co-hosted with New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in 2017.

England are scheduled to host the 2021 Rugby League World Cup. Rugby League in Africa dates back to as early as the 1950s when South Africa organised matches against Great Britain and France.

The sport has seen activity in Burundi, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Morocco, Congo, Ghana and Ethiopia. Just like Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Zimbabwe are new to the sport.

Nyakwaka said the inaugural Nairobi 9s held in February this year with nine clubs taking part proved a great success, giving them hope that with proper planning, the game is set to grow in leaps and bounds.

KRL that was to start in April, featuring eight teams will be different so as to make it suitable. The league matches will be played at one venue and one day, featuring four matches.

The fixtures will take place twice a month in view of saving the resources. Nyakwaka said they will have venues spread across the country in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kakamega, Meru, Nakuru, Watamu and Kitengela, among other areas.

Some of the clubs that have embraced rugby league locally are Winam in Kisumu, Rift Valley Ruffians, Nkubu in Nakuru, Meru, Kitengela Wolves, Nairobi Rhinos, Nairobi Touch Rugby and Thika Road Club.

“Spreading the game across will help to develop the interest by creating a “thick” market for everyone. It will also be easier for sponsors and for media coverage with matches being played at a central place,” noted Nyakwaka, adding that they will also introduce a ladies league and age grade program for schools.

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Nyakwaka said the response has been great so far and the fan base is building up and further noted that its popularity will definitely increase in years to come.

“Of course like any new venture, there are challenges with resources, but we have been overwhelmed by the interest of young rugby players who want to join rugby league,” explained Nyakwaka.

“We have progressed talks with potential sponsors, who were coming through, but corona has stalled everything.”

One thing that KRL want to do, Nyakwaka said is to lobby for the continuous talent development for age grade with students playing the sport throughout the year.

But how has KRL managed to form clubs with ease in a short time?

Nyakwaka said there are more players but less clubs at the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) and that others have been struggling to get position in top clubs.

“Most of them are crossing and more so, we are targeting secondary school leavers,” said Nyakwaka, adding that they are in talks with KRU officials about cross code playing, and everyone seems to agree with it.