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Lack of funds still bedevils Maraga’s Judiciary

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By SAMWEL OWINO
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Despite having a workforce of 5,698 and offices spread across the country, the Judiciary gets less than half of what legislators spend, greatly disadvantaging it, compared with the other arms of the government.

So, it was not surprising that when Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich read the Budget Thursday afternoon, the Judiciary was allocated just Sh18.8 billion compared with Parliament’s Sh43.6 billion.

The national government got Sh1.84 trillion while county governments got Sh371.6 billion.

The situation has seen the government keep a few hundred politicians happy at the expense of thousands of staff of Judicial Service Commission (JSC) staff, even as the backlog of cases continues to grow.

National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi has defended the huge allocation to Parliament, saying it operates differently from the Judiciary.

Acknowledging that the Judiciary has a huge workforce, Mr Mbadi however pointed out that the structure at the Judiciary is thinner at the top and wider at the base compared with Parliament, where all MPs have the same terms of service.

He also noted that while judges and magistrate’ salaries come from the Consolidated Fund, MPs’ salaries are drawn from their allocation.

Mr Mbadi added that a big chunk of Parliament’s funds are used by its committees for travel, as they go about their oversight work.

“Historically, the budget of the Judiciary has always been less than Parliament’s, but it has been increasing every financial year. In addition, MPs also have offices both in Nairobi and at their constituencies, which have staff paid by Parliament,” Mr Mbadi said.

The “State of the Judiciary and Administration of Justice Report” 2017/2018 launched in February this year indicates that its budget has not grown in tandem with the national budget.

“While the Executive has been receiving an average of 97 per cent, the Judiciary’s share has remained below one per cent of the national budget over the years.

“In the FY 2017/18, the budget went down to 0.7 per cent, negatively impacting the achievement of planned targets and consequent realisation of the Judiciary’s mandate,” says the report.

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The national budget grew from Sh1.5 trillion in the 2015/2016 FY to Sh1.7 trillion in the 2016/2017 FY, and to Sh2.0 trillion in the 2017/2018 financial year.

Meanwhile, the Judiciary’s allocation fell from 1.4 per cent in the 2016/2017 FY to 0.9 per cent in the 2017/2018 FY, affecting many of its operations.

“The expectation was for an increment in the Judiciary budget to fund critical emerging issues, notably the hearing and finalisation of election disputes. This led to the accumulation of recurrent pending bills amounting to Sh246 million at the end of the financial years,” adds the report.

The Judiciary’s allocation for development dropped from 0.5 per cent in FY 2016/2017 to 0.2 per cent in FY 2017/2018, while the Executive’s increased from 99.1 percent to 99.5 per cent during the same period.

When she appeared before the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee in April this year to present the Judiciary’s Budget Policy Statement, Chief Registrar Anne Amadi noted that corruption cases were likely to be hampered in the next financial year if the Judiciary did not get additional funds.

Ms Amadi added that a number of projects such as the e-filing system, e-collection and receipting of revenue collection, and the automation of court processes would also be affected.

She further noted that inadequate budgetary allocations would also affect the pending mortgages of judges and Judiciary staff amounting to Sh800 million. Of the Sh800 million, Ms Amadi said, judges were owed Sh500 million, while staff were owed Sh300 million.

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Nairobi and Coast counties isolated : The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta when he made an address on enhanced measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic at State House, Nairobi on April, 6 2020.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s order stopping movement into and out of Nairobi has effectively banned upcountry travel and disrupted domestic flights.

It has also locked out individuals who work in the city but live outside the mapped metropolitan area from their places of work or business.
The operations of the Standard Gauge Railway commuter train, long distance bus companies and shuttles that either start or end their journey in Nairobi will be disrupted following the order of a 21-day cessation of movement into and out of Nairobi, where the first Covid-19 case was confirmed. The capital city has since recorded the highest number of the 158 coronavirus infections.
The ban that applies to boundary within the Nairobi Metropolitan Area came into force yesterday at 7pm, affecting travellers who were either already enroute to Nairobi or planning to depart from various city bus stations for upcountry.
SEE ALSO: China virus cases spike, 17 new infections reportedIt implies that travellers who were on transit to either Nairobi or upcountry for business or work-related assignments – and were able to beat the curfew – had the options of either cutting short their journey, or proceeding but being forced to stay at their destinations for the next three weeks.
Nairobi is a major circuit for most local flights, meaning airline companies will have to suspend a big chunk of their operations during the restriction period, and only continue with flights to towns not affected by the directive.
MPs who are set to attend the National Assembly special sitting tomorrow to discuss tax measures announced by President Kenyatta but were still in their constituencies by last evening will also be locked out unless they secure an exemption.
For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.   Read Now »
A similar restriction to movement will be enforced in Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa – which have also recorded coronavirus infections – but the ban will be enforced from tomorrow at 7pm.
The nationwide 7pm to 5am curfew remains in force.
SEE ALSO: China confirms virus spreading between humansHowever, the movement of food supplies and other cargo will continue as normal during the declared containment period through road, railway and air.
According to the order, the Nairobi Metropolitan Area includes Nairobi City County; part of Kiambu County up to the Chania River bridge (Thika); Machakos County up to Athi River and including Katani; and part of Kajiado County including Kitengela, Kiserian, Ongata Rongai and Ngong Town.
No passenger train
There are hundreds of employees and businesspeople who reside outside the defined area but commute to the capital city every morning. The order implies that they will now have to work from home from this morning, or take work leave for the next 21 days.
Already, Kenya Railways Managing Director Philip Mainga has announced the suspension of SGR passenger trains. Operations of two Madaraka Express trains that operated daily at 10.30 am were consequently suspended.
SEE ALSO: Factbox: What we know about the new coronavirus spreading in China and beyondMr Maingi, however, said cargo freights will continue operating uninterrupted, as will Nairobi Commuter rail services to Ruiri, Embakasi, Syokimau and Kikuyu stations under revised timings to cater for the hours of the curfew.
Uhuru made the cessation of movement orders as he announced an additional 16 new infections and two deaths. So far, 158 people have been infected with Covid-19, and six have lost their lives to the viral disease that has become a global pandemic.
The president said the additional restrictions, as uncomfortable as they are, are necessary following the trend that has been noted by the Ministry of Health that the four affected counties are high-risk areas.
Of the 158 cases, he said, 82 per cent are residents of Nairobi, while 14 per cent are from Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa. The president warned the pandemic is likely to continue spreading with lethal effect if drastic action is not taken.
“There is a choice we were asked to make as a government and as a people: to carry on as normal or to treat this like the extraordinary emergency it is and to fundamentally change how we act,” he said.
SEE ALSO: Travelers to be screened for ‘Chinese’ coronavirus- GovernmentUhuru said in issuing the additional measures, he is well aware of the inconvenience it will cause Kenyans.
“However, not doing it will lead to even greater suffering for the people of Kenya,” he said.
The movement of cargo, as per the previous order that effected the ongoing 7pm to 5am curfew countrywide, is still allowed, but with additional adjustments.
“Any cargo-carrying vehicle or vessel shall be charged to a single driver and designated assistants, all of whom shall be designated as such in writing by the owner and operator of the said vehicle or vessel reference to that vehicle or vessel,” said Uhuru.
He added that despite the restrictions that limit the number of hours spent on building the economy, traders and farmers of fresh produce should continue with their activities to ensure continued supply.
“No one should be denied the ability to carry on with legal trade within the boundaries of the protocols set out by the Ministry of Health,” the president said.
Unforgiving virus
Uhuru noted that while a majority of those who get Covid-19 recover without showing severe symptoms, they can still spread the disease to large numbers of people, leading to unprecedented pressure on already scarce medical facilities and causing an unimaginable loss of lives.
“The virus is unforgiving, and its rate of growth, if not arrested, is exponential,” he said. “I will, therefore, go to any lawful length to respond to this pandemic.”
Uhuru said governments around the world have gone to extra lengths to contain the virus and flatten the curve. He added that wearing a mask whenever one is out in public is now necessary, and to take precautions not to expose anyone who is as old as he is – 58 – or with underlying medical conditions.
“There are thousands of tailors all over the country who will also look to make masks. The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Industry and Trade should ensure that these tailors are provided with the right materials and proper ways of piecing the face masks,” he said.
The president further assured Kenyans that his administration is doing everything in its power to cushion Kenyans from the harsh realities that would come with the changes. Apart from Sh10 billion earlier approved to be disbursed to the elderly and orphans, he said collective management organisation will this week distribute Sh200 million to artistes and performers.
He directed the Ministry of Sports and Culture to disburse Sh100 million to actors, musicians and artists.

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Are you suspecting that you have coronavirus? Before you rush to the hospital, do this quick easy self-assessment test. #StayHome #WashYourHands HERE.

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Victims of toxic malaria jab get Sh42.8m payout : The Standard

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The Busia County government has released Sh42.8 million as compensation for 28 children who developed complications after receiving a malaria injection at a public clinic in 2015.
The payout follows a 2017 ruling by Resident Magistrate Josephine Maragia, who said the children were victims of professional negligence.
The court noted the victims were not given proper diagnosis and treatment by a competent medical practitioner.
SEE ALSO: Busia police seize bhang sneaked from UgandaThe children developed various complications, including paralysis, after receiving the injection at Akichelesit dispensary in Teso North Constituency.
Some of them suffered permanent disabilities.
The payment has came as a major relief to parents who have had to dig deeper into their pockets to support their children, including specialised treatment.
For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.   Read Now »
Some of the victims’ parents said the money, released last week, will help them take care of their children.
Emmanuel Omonya’s 10-year-old daughter Cate Atenge’s left leg was paralysed. One of her knees is stiff. Atenge has to use crutches.
SEE ALSO: Man found with county cheques worth Sh1.8 million chargedOmonya said his daughter’s life has never been the same after the incident. He said his mother has to massage her leg with milking jelly every morning to ease the pain.
He said he will use to money to seek specialised treatment for the girl.
“The money may not return my daughter’s life to how it was before the incident but I am happy the county government has compensated her. We have been waiting for the county government to act for a long time,” he said.
He added: “My daughter has suffered a lot. She struggles to walk. I may have to buy her a wheelchair to make it easier for her to move around and go to school.”
Atenge is a pupil at St Mary’s Primary School, which is 700 metres away from their home.
SEE ALSO: Fishermen help 214 needy students get Sh1.4m feesOmonya said his wife miscarried and died in 2018 due to stress after learning their daughter was paralysed.
“This girl needs physiotherapy but I could not afford it. I hope she will now get the treatment she needs,” he said.
Abel Okiror was present to witness the cheque being handed over to their lawyer. His daughter Vivian Asere, 11, is paralysed in the right side.
The Class Four pupil has been struggling to walk.
Okiror appealed to parents of those affected to use the money to get their children proper treatment.
SEE ALSO: Police officers seize 77kg ivory“Let us use the money to improve the lives of the children who have suffered so much so they will not have to ask us one day what happened to the money that was paid to them,” he said.
Evalyne Barasa’s children, Gideon Wekesa, 12, and Shielda Nekesa, 10, were victims of the botched injection. It affected their backs and left legs.
Evalyne, a widow, said she has to massage her children every now and then to ease their pain.
She said while she is sad that her children cannot play with their colleagues as they did before, she is happy that they have been compensated.
Doctors continue
Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi, who gave out the cheque, said they will ensure doctors continue attending to the affected children.
Mr Mulomi said another Sh19 million, part of the compensation, will be released in the next financial year.
“We are pleading with the parents of the affected children to ensure the victims benefit from this money,” Mulomi said.
He continued: “We are going to keep a close eye on the children, especially those who suffered serious injuries, with a view to ensure they get required medication.”
Mathew Edejai, who is also a parent of one of the affected children, called on the county government to keep its promise to release the remaining amount in the next fiscal year.
“It has been a painful experience for us. We do not expect the county to take us in circles again,” said Edejai.
The victim’s lawyer, Mr Bernard Ombui, told The Standard yesterday that a chunk of the money will go towards treatment of the children.

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Busia CountyResident Magistrate Josephine Maragia

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Institute in Naivasha turned to isolation centre : The Standard

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An unidentified Nairobi county worker undergoes temperature check at Uhuru Park, Nairobi on Monday, April 6, 2020. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute (KWSTI) in Naivasha has been identified as a quarantine centre.

The move follows the recent directive by the State that health officials should identify institutions which can be used as quarantine centres in case the number of those affected by Covid-19 rises.
At the same time, screening of all travellers along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway has been heightened.
Naivasha, being home to many high-end hotels, normally receives a lot of visitors.
According to Naivasha Sub-county Public Health Officer George Ndichu, the training institute met all health requirements laid down by the Ministry of Health.
Mr Ndichu was, however, quick to note that no coronavirus case has been reported in Naivasha.
“We have identified KWSTI as the new quarantine centre in Naivasha. This is part of our preparedness in containing the spread of this virus,” said Ndichu.
For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.   Read Now »
He asked residents to observe social-distance and wash their hands in order to stop the spread of the virus.
“We have trained our security officers on this disease and we shall continue to give more information to the public,” Ndichu said.
Elsewhere, there was a moment of panic in Karagita estate in Naivasha after a flower farm worker collapsed and died in unclear circumstances.
Some residents fled from the scene following information that the man had breathing complications before he passed on.
Simon Mwangi, a witness, said the worker had been complaining of chest pains and breathing problems before he collapsed.
“It happened very fast. He was confirmed dead on arrival in the hospital,” Mr Mwangi said. A senior police officer said the body has been taken to Naivasha Sub-county Hospital mortuary.
“Only an autopsy can confirm the cause of death,” the officer who sought anonymity said.

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Are you suspecting that you have coronavirus? Before you rush to the hospital, do this quick easy self-assessment test. #StayHome #WashYourHands HERE.

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Isolation centreKWSTINaivashaCoronavirus

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