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Meet the man who told NTSA to stop ‘highway rat’ arrests



“When you catch me like a rat on the highway…” is a phrase that has become familiar to many in the country.

The words were spoken by a man protesting arrest by police and officials of the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) during a crackdown on drink-driving in December 2016.

The video clip, captured by NTV two years ago, went viral on social media and has kept Kenyans laughing to date.

One Annie W, in a comment on YouTube in May, said, “This will never get old.”

Perhaps it will not, and the man who made the hilarious statement still insists that it is unnecessary for NTSA officers to manhandle motorists.

In the clip, he tells the officials to stop “talking very big nonsense” and wasting their time, and notes that he had been driving for more than 20 years.

Meet Alex Sadi, now 52 years old, who says he is not an alcoholic.

Mr Sadi spends his days at a pharmacy tucked in the busy small town of Mtwapa.

“This is where I earn my living. People only know of the drunkard ‘guy’ from that video. I am not an alcoholic,” he says.

Mr Sadi recounts the fateful day of his arrest, saying he was heading from a pub at around 10.30pm after catching up with a friend.

“I took only two bottles of beer,” he says, an amount that he says does not exceed the limit.

“On my way home, I was manhandled by police officers who took me to the police station. I was released the following day by a Shanzu court on a Sh5,000 bond.”

Mr Sadi, a father of five children – two sons and three daughters – says his day starts at 5.30am.

“I report at my work place by 6am and get home by 11pm. I am a man who respects my family a lot … I am so close to my wife,” he says.

The fourth born in a polygamous family of 12 hails from Chonyi in Kilifi and has been living in Mtwapa for the last 25 years.

He describes himself as a businessman who only visit the bar to “cut deals” before heading home.

“I do not do a lot with my life. In my little free time, I interact with people and work with some organisations to help needy but bright students especially here in Mtwapa,” says the chatty, cheerful man.

Mr Sadi maintains that it was unnecessary for the NTSA officers to treat motorists in that manner.

“If anything, the manner in which they arrested people was worse than would be the case for rats. Those people only wanted to portray people like cartoons, which I am not,” he says.

He is happy that President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the authority off the roads in 2018.

Mr Sadi wants motorists who disobey traffic rules to be subjected to a “civilised arrest”.

“No one but God can be in charge of my safety. Those officials should be on our roads to protect us but their approach is only a way to cause more accidents,” he says.

Mr Sadi further opines that beer consumption should be abolished if consumers will not to be respected.

“Someone who takes beer should not be portrayed as an enemy of the society. Some of us work hard for the society that we live in,” he added.

Mr Sadi, a fan of the Arsenal Football Club who only drinks Pilsner, is however keen to note that he does not advocate for the consumption of alcohol.

He adds that the viral video has neither affected him nor his family but alleges that it is being exploited for commercial gain.

He says he was informed of a company that had been using the clip to advertise a mobile phone.

“I have already sought services of a lawyer who is helping me to pursue the matter. I will not allow people to capitalise on me,” he says.


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151 cases, but Kibra isn’t on lockdown



The government appears hesitant to put Nairobi’s Kibra estate on lockdown despite increased number of Covid-19 cases that now stand at 151.

This figure is more than the cases recorded in Eastleigh and Mombasa’s Old Town which are on lockdown until June 6, 2020. The two areas were put under lockdown by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on May 6 after recording 58 and 67 cases, respectively. So far, Eastleigh has 121 and while Old Town has 91 cases.

Issuing yesterday’s Covid-19 update where he announced 143 new cases, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said informal settlements in the country were on the government’s radar. “We have seen increasing concern around Kibra partly because of extended testing,” said Dr Aman.

Aman announced that surveillance teams were focusing on Kenya’s largest informal.“If these numbers continue to increase, necessary interventions have to be taken,” he said. The number of Covid-19 cases in Kibra have been increasing steadily.

Between May 21 and May 28, the area had 99 cases. The adjacent Lang’ata area had 31 cases, most of which the ministry said were from Kibra.

From yesterday’s figures, where 143 people tested positive across the country, Kibra came second after Makadara estate in Nairobi. Out of the 86 cases in Nairobi, 45 were from Makadara while 21 were from Kibra.

Embakasi South come third with six cases. Langata had one case. There was no reported case from Eastleigh. Health Director General Patrick Amoth said densely populated informal settlements have become hotspots for the disease.

“It is practically difficult to ensure social distancing. The only measure left (in informal settlements) now is hygiene and use of masks,” said Dr Amoth.

According to the Director General, lack of access to clean water has played a role in the disease’s rapid spread in informal settlements.

Apart from Kibra, Eastleigh and now Makadara, Mathare is the other informal settlement which has registered more cases, the highest being 33.

So far, the disease has spread to 33 counties, the latest being Kericho which reported one case in Ainamoi area. Uasin Gishu reported 11 cases, all truck drivers.

August peak

The peak of the disease in Kenya is expected to be around August and September when the Health ministry predicts a daily tally of 200. “By then, we will be at 4,000 or 5,000 cases and by our fatality ratio, we will be at 160 or 180 deaths then,” said Amoth.

Up to 63 people have died so far from the disease, majority being those with underlying health conditions like asthma, hypertension, diabetes and heart conditions. Majority of the dead were more than 55 years old, prompting the Health ministry to issue caution on unique symptoms of the disease among the elderly. The common symptoms synonymous with Covid-19 are cough, fever, difficulty in breathing and cold.

“The elderly may have different symptoms that include lethargy, diarrhea, confusion, anxiety, unexplained strokes, loss of taste or brain inflammation,” said Amoth.


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VIDEO: We are about to reopen our economy, says President Kenyatta



This  exclusive interview with Nation Media Group’s Editorial Director Mutuma Mathiu aired on NTV Kenya at 7.30pm on Sunday.

“The economic and financial shocks associated with Covid-19 such as disruptions to industrial production and supply chains, falling commodity prices, financial market volatility and rising insecurity have derailed the already tepid economic growth and development,” the President said.

To address the socioeconomic challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, President Kenyatta said the global community needs to focus on the implementation of the United Nations Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Watch the Head of State as he articulates his agenda for the country.

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Kenyan scientist Muthoni Masinde created an app that predicts droughts



An app is combining weather station data with the traditional knowledge of African farmers to predict droughts.

To help prepare farmers for the effects of climate change, Kenyan computer scientist Muthoni Masinde has created mobile platform ITIKI.

The name stands for Information Technology and Indigenous Knowledge, and the platform sends farmers drought forecasts via an app or SMS message.

Although it uses meteorological data, Masinde says most African farmers can better relate to the traditional knowledge that is also used to formulate the platform’s predictions.

“I grew up in a [Kenyan] village and I noticed that most farmers do not have any form of science to tell [them] when to plant,” Masinde told CNN Business.

“They watch insects, they watch the behavior of animals and then they make a decision, ‘I think it’ll rain in two weeks’ time.’”

ITIKI employs young people in farming communities to gather photos and updates about animal behavior and local vegetation, such as which trees are flowering.

They capture their findings on the ITIKI app, and ITIKI collates this information with data from local weather stations to model weather patterns months in advance.

Farmers can subscribe to the service for just a few cents, and receive regular updates in their local language, helping them make early decisions about which crops they should grow and whether to sell or save their produce.

Economic impact of drought

Many African countries are especially vulnerable to climate change and small-scale farmers in particular, who rely on rainfall for their harvests, could face poverty and food insecurity, according to UN climate experts.

That could have major economic repercussions. Agriculture contributes about 15% to Africa’s total GDP, according to a 2017 UN report, and accounts for around half of the continent’s employment, according to the African Development Bank.

Now a professor at the Central University of Technology Free State, in South Africa, Masinde launched the app in 2016 in Kenya, where agriculture makes up around a third of GDP.

“Investments in climate adaptation solutions, especially targeting small scale farmers, would lead to GDP growth [in Africa],” said Masinde.

She added that African governments tend to react to drought and extreme weather, rather than proactively planning for these events.

“We do not prepare for [drought],” she said. “It’s like we just wake up and discover that people in rural Kenya are starving, that people on one side of the country have no rain.”

Masinde says ITIKI is now used by more than 15,000 farmers in Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa. Since farmers started using the app their crop yields have increased by an average of 11%, according to Masinde.

ITIKI has received $750,000 in funding from the US and South African governments, which will be used to scale up operations. By the end of this year, Masinde hopes to have signed up over 100,000 farmers to the platform.

BY Citizen

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