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Go after cons impersonating you instead of posting endless warnings, KOT tell Sonko

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Kenyans on Twitter appear to be tired of Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s perennial warnings about con artists impersonating him using fake social media accounts.

In his latest Facebook post on Thursday, Sonko said con artists operate websites and parody accounts after lifting photos from his verified page.

He said that the cons have been lying the Sonko Rescue Team is recruiting representatives who will be paid Sh72,400 from all the 47 counties.

Applicants have been urged to pay a nonrefundable registration fee of Sh300.

“I wish to take this opportunity to warn Kenyans to watch out and never send any money to these conmen. In any case you are approached, please report to the police or CID or to my office for quick action.”

However, his update did not go down well with Kenyans on Twitter.

Many are now fed up of these updates from Sonko and are of the view that he should use his personal resources to clamp down on these cartels.

@Bernado Njenga Benny said, “Mheshimiwa if it’s so hard for a governor to trace a conman, how do u expect a common mwananchi to handle such a situation?”

@Prince Kim said, “You have been doing this for long. You have resources to refund us and rescue Kenyans by investigating the number they are using.”

Mike Sonko replied to him saying, “I have done my part to inform the public and to notify the CID.”

@Patrick Irungu said, “Take a legal action please.”

@Isaac Mwibanda said, “Just take action!”

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@Jose Nyagah said, “You can track them and let them face the charges.”

Others users shared their own experiences on how they fell victim.

@Susan Ndungu said, “Walinicon 28k. In 2016 Dec”

@Fred Kim said, “I’m a victim, even after reporting to Muthaiga police station, I don’t know which action they took.”

“It started a long time ago, I think last year they tried conning me by creating a fake account with your photo on FB promising me they will give me a motorbike if give them a registration fee of 500,” Lillian Njau commented.

In December 2017, Sonko disowned a fake Facebook account purporting that he plagiarised a post shared by Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

The governor was among many state officers targeted in a wave of fake Facebook accounts.

Read more on:Beware of fraudsters, Sonko warns followers after fake Facebook post on Uhuru meeting

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Kenyans support each other through virus crisis

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NATION TEAM

By NATION TEAM
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Amid the coronavirus gloom, leaders, corporates, clubs and ordinary Kenyans are going out of their way to make a difference.

A silent philanthropic spirit is sweeping across the country as changemakers seek to save and touch the lives of ordinary Kenyans, especially those from less privileged backgrounds.

They are making face masks, contributing money, donating hand sanitisers, water tanks, soap, food and other essential just help their fellow countrymen survive the hell brought by the pandemic.

In Kitui, a factory that was making uniforms, mats, napkins and gardening clothes has transformed into a 24-hour operation making surgical masks — an essential product for health workers on the frontline.

Kitui County Textile Centre (Kicotec) has gone flat out to make 30,000 masks a day to help plug a global shortage of the protective gear. Kenya needs 15 million masks for its citizens

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With the rising global demand for masks, Governor Charity Ngilu has decided to step up.

After a visit to Taiwan two months ago, Ms Ngilu quickly arranged to have Kicotec, which employs more than 400 workers, make some sample masks that were taken to the Kenya Bureau of Standards for approval, before being granted the tender to make them by the Ministry of Health.

“Let’s not wait and wonder. We import everything and produce nothing, despite having all the resources at our disposal,” Mrs said Ngilu told The Washington Post in a recent interview.

Kicotec employees are mostly women with very little or no formal education. The staff, who work in three eight-hour shifts, were retrained in seven days and are helping protect health in both private and public hospitals.

“It was a big challenge to bring them from the village to where they are today. But they are all experts now. They could each run their own factory, if you ask me,” Mr Mbuvi Mbathi, the factory manager, told The Washington Post.

In Mombasa, businessman and politician Suleiman Shahbal has forked out Sh900,000 to instal fabricated automatic sanitiser spray booths in partnership with the county government.

The booths, installed on both sides of the ferry with larger ones under construction, are part of efforts to disinfect the ferry, a known weak link in the fight against the virus.

“This is the least we can do for the community to fight off this pandemic,” Mr Shahbal said.

Several landlords have also come to the rescue of tenants. Mr James Kanja, 43, who owns a one-bedroom and two-bedroom rental apartment block in Mugumo, Ruiru, has reduced the rent by half for the month of April.

“I am a businessman dealing with construction material. My business is down and I figured that some of my tenants are affected,” he told the Nation.

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“In that apartment, I have teachers and some of them are on half pay. Also, the uncertainty that comes with this pandemic can be overwhelming. I just wanted to uplift their spirits and alleviate some of their stress so they can focus on other basic needs.”

Other organisations and initiatives are rallying Kenyans to help support children’s homes and street children.

At the corporate level, banks, telcos and manufacturers have wired hundreds of millions of shillings to support the government fight against the global pandemic.

Others are giving in kind, from PPE for medical staff to oxygen, soap, hand sanitisers, surface disinfectants and masks. The Corporative Bank leads commercial banks in the charity drive after it wired Sh100 million to the kitty.

UBA Bank has offered Sh15 million while Safaricom, besides foregoing Sh3 billion in M-Pesa revenue every month to allow free transactions for amounts below Sh1,000, has given the Ministry of Health four thermal cameras that will be used for screening at border entry points.

A number of companies have also come together to launch the Safe Hands Kenya campaign that aims to distribute free soap, hand sanitisers, surface disinfectant and masks to Kenyans.

A nationwide marketing campaign will be rolled out in parallel to motivate behaviour change and inform people about practical and immediate measures they can take to stay safe and slow the spread of the virus.

Rotary clubs have not been left behind. They have launched an emergency kitty to provide soap, hand sanitisers and disinfectants to communities.

They are working with the National Emergency Covid-19 Crisis, the National Business Compact Forum and other stakeholders.

Already, the clubs have distributed hundreds of water tanks to communities in Nairobi and Kilifi counties.

“Rotary’s top priority is to ensure that communities in low-income areas are supported and not left behind in the response effort,” says Dr Joe Kamau, the Rotary chairman of the Emergency Response Team to Covid-19.

The response team is also partnering with ShofCo, Amref, Red Cross and Amurt Africa to support efforts by the National Rapid Response Team to deliver donor packs.

By Allan Olingo, Harry Misiko, John Kamau, Paul Wafula, Lilys Njeru and Kitavi Mutua

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Kenya: Time’s Ripe to Trust Our Own Scientists – Ongaji

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As the world continues to play catch up with coronavirus pandemic, which has unleashed terror around the globe, Africa has not been spared, as the disease continues to slowly crawl into the continent.

Statistics have suggested that compared to other parts of the world, that we have been lucky at least for the moment, not to have come face to face with the full terror unleashed by the pandemic.

But as we continue to ride on this luck, which we have no idea how long it will last, the continent has not been left with many choices other than be at the mercy of the developed world.

Researchers from different parts of the world, be it from Australia, The UK, China or America, keep updating the world. Be it on the biological structure of the virus, or maybe a testing kit that takes shorter time to get results, we on the other hand have been relying on rumours and fake news from various platforms online. This is not only to feed our curiosity, but also to sway our minds from a possible horror story that likely awaits ahead.

I can’t help but notice every time my friends on social media become optimistic, whenever there is some sort of good news in the fight against the virus, courtesy of foreign scientists.

DISHEARTENING

What’s disheartening is that some of our experts have been reduced to conveyor belts of dissemination of latest research information from their foreign colleagues; some details that we can easily access online.

It is as if no form of scientific research structure exists in this part of the world. It is as though we are completely out of touch with the situation. In other words, we have been reduced to spectators.

The saddening fact is that this is not first time that as a continent we are just mere spectators in the midst of such an outbreak.

Such laxity or should we call it ignorance may be best explained by how much African governments have been investing in research.

The 2017 Unesco Institute for Statistics survey released in June 2019 showed Israel and South Korea as the world’s leading spenders on research and development (R&D), as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). The two countries spent 4.6% of GDP on R&D, compared with the 2.4% average of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in that year.

That’s just but one example. A good number of research investment lists are dominated by Western and East Asian countries, while no African country appears even in the top 20 of the pack. We are talking about the second most populous continent.

Here in Kenya, out of the Sh3.02 trillion 2019-2020 budget, the government allocated Sh1.0 billion to modernise facilities in Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI).

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As for the many talented heads in Africa; scientists who shine even at the international level, when they come back home, they are either frustrated or do not find a conducive working environment.

Case in point is Dr Jean-Jacques Muyembe, a microbiologist who after graduating with a Ph.D. in Belgium, instead of enjoying the comfort of Europe, he decided to go back to his home country of Democratic Republic of Congo to try and at least bring sanity to the medical situation there.

But what did he find when he went back? A less than ideal working environment, which was characterized with insecurity and lack of working apparatus. However, that did not discourage him from trying to save his people, having been the first scientist to discover the hemorrhagic fever, Ebola, and also pioneered the treatment of the same.

There are many true sons and daughters of Africa who despite their hardships, have shown the will to change the medical and research situation in the continent, only to be frustrated by the system, and finally fade away.