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Public viewing of Moi’s remains elicit varied reactions




The decision by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government to display the body of former president Daniel arap Moi publicly at Parliament buildings has caused different reactions.

Moi’s body has been lying at parliament building since Saturday morning. It will stay there till Monday for Kenyans to view his remains and pay their last respects.

Display of Moi’s body replicates a similar move by Moi’s government to display, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s body at the State House when he died in 1978.

“Until now, I have always thought all bodies were presented for viewing only in coffins,” posted Dennis Otim, a Ugandan.

“Lessons learnt. (In life) we come with nothing and leave with nothing,” another user opined.

“The Kenyan culture is strange,” wrote Vincent Omoding.

“Different nations, different cultures. Other religions burn (read cremate) bodies. We have to respect this culture,” said Kennedy Mufungo, a Zambian.

An interdenominational service of the late president will be held on Tuesday at Nyayo national stadium and a state burial the next day at his Kabarak home.

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Couples share what it’s like being quarantined with their soon-to-be exes



A recent thread brought to light some of the unspoken issues that have cropped up due to the coronavirus lockdown. We have all had to contend with spending copious amounts of time indoors and trying to keep our sanity, as we self-isolate. Many plans have had to change and these include plans to let go of significant others whose time was up.

One user took to Reddit to ask how people were coping now that they were forced to continue living with partners they had hoped to let go.

“Anybody out there quarantined with a romantic partner that you planned on divorcing/breaking up with before the world was put on hold? What’s that like?” the post read.

Many responded pointing out the challenges they are facing.

Lockdown prevented us from getting seperate homes

“My wife and I separated three weeks ago. We were both in the process of finding different places to live but our town is shut down now. Needless to say it’s been awkward and tense for us.”

We’re lucky she works in essential services

“My ex & I broke up a couple of months ago. Still living together because our lease isn’t up until September & neither of us has the money to break it. It’s going okay, it’s reasonably amicable, but I’m so thankful she is considered an “essential employee” & still working full-time. I’d be going insane if we were stuck in the house together, day in, day out. I’m just praying we don’t actually end up in quarantine.”

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It’s been awkward and tense (Photo: Shutterstock)

My divorcing parents use me as a go-between

“I am currently quarantined with my parents who parents are in the middle of a divorce (dad decided to get a girlfriend after 27 years of marriage) and they aren’t speaking to each other but using me as a go between. It’s been the longest week of my life.”

No relationship pressure 

I have a friend/co-worker whose ex-wife of a month ago just moved back in with him for financial reasons so they could both survive through these difficult times. He said now that the baggage of being in a relationship is gone, they get along and are happier than they’d been for a while. They also have children together, and he feels like now that they don’t need to focus on each other, they can devote more time to the kids and themselves.

We’ve changed our minds (Photo: Shutterstock)

He is making an effort

A little before all this started I made it clear that I was considering divorce and he started making an effort. Now, with the exception of the ever-present fear of getting too sick to care for our children or society crumbling and being unable to meet our basic needs, there aren’t any distractions. And now I’m finally getting the things I’ve been asking for for years.

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We changed our minds

Pretty cool. I’ve changed my mind: I think she’s changed hers.

It’s not fun

My ex and I decided to get divorced a few weeks ago, and she is still planning on moving out at the end of the month. We thought we would both be busy enough for it not to be that hard, but then pandemic happened. It’s… not fun.

I haven’t told her I want a divorce (Photo: Shutterstock)

Unhappy but can’t bring myself to end it

We had a couples counseling appointment scheduled that I told myself I would wait until before I verbally said “divorce” to her. But that’s not going to happen with the current state of things. I flip back and forth on if I should say anything but I’m scared to be myself around her. We have an adopted 3 year old daughter whose birth mother died last April so I want to try keeping intact any semblance of a family life for her sake. But I don’t know what the better choice is, continue enduring and losing myself so my daughter can have things I didn’t get as a child, or just start the process of ending it. I certainly can’t do it until the world gets back to some type of normality.

We’re still best friends

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I finally admitted to myself that I’m a lesbian, so we’ve been working on divorce proceedings for the last month or so. We still live together because of the lease, but luckily we are best friends still, I’m just not interested in men. It’s sometimes awkward but it’s been mostly okay – luckily he has an essential job so we still get some time apart.

It’s annoying but we’re doing our best

Ya it’s not great, not awful, just annoying. I Told him to move out, we were working toward that process and then…pandemic. If he had left and wasn’t Involved in the care of our son, it would have been a nightmare because I work in the hospital. We’re just trying to do the best we can. This situation hasn’t made anything magically better. I want out, but now is not the right time.

I haven’t told her yet

She doesn’t know yet and I’ve had to push things back. It sucks because I am so unhappy and want it to be done with.

By Standard 

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Story of Coronavirus patient who recovered raises many questions among Kenyans



Wednesday, April 1, would have passed as any ordinary day were it not for an unusual live broadcast.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was having a video conference meeting the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Health, Mutahi Kagwe, who was in the company of two individuals that had recovered from coronavirus.

The two were; Brenda Ivy Cherotich, now popularly known as Kenya’s first coronavirus patient and Brian Orinda, patient number three – who contracted the virus from Brenda.  On March 13, Kenya joined a growing list of countries around the world that have confirmed cases of coronavirus.

After the health CS made the announcement, life in Kenya changed – literally. In three weeks, the country has recorded 81 cases and one death. Kenyans are now strictly observing a 7pm to 5am curfew as part of the many measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

Patient zero goes public 

Following her going public, Brenda – patient zero – captured the attention of the entire country. In the interview, she confirmed that indeed she had the virus, explained where she could have possibly caught it, and revealed that she has now fully recovered from the virus.Clad in a red top and cream pants, Brenda looked bubbly as she gave a captivating narration of her experience with coronavirus.

With her was Brian. He came across as quiet – almost timid – judging by how he slouched on the chair during the video conference.

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After her virtual meeting with Uhuru and media interviews in various stations, Brenda has now become an overnight sensation and a hot subject for trolls on the internet. She has been trending on Twitter for most of the day.Why Brenda has raised a stormStandard Digital has gone through several interviews Brenda has given after she came out in public to share her experience.

These are the questions Kenyans are asking:

How many days was Brenda in quarantine?

In the telecom with Uhuru, Brenda said she had been in quarantine for 23 days. During her interview at NTV, she said she was in quarantine for 22 days. “I’ve been in quarantine for 22 days now,” she said.

The difference between the date of recovery and confirmation of the first case is 20 days. So, where did the 23 days come from?

We do however acknowledge that Brenda said upon return to Nairobi, she developed a cough and a fever for three days. “I decided to give myself one day to see how my body would respond”.So, how many days was Brenda in quarantine?

Mbagathi Hospital or Kenyatta National Hospital?

After a now-famous virtual meeting with Kenyatta, Brenda said after exhibiting cough and fever, she took herself to hospital after calls to the Health Ministry toll number went unanswered. In her testimonial, Brenda said she went to Mbagathi hospital, where she was eventually put on quarantine.

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She also told NTV’s Dennis Okari that she called Mbagathi hospital and the toll free numbers, which went unanswered.“Okari: Did they pick you from the house? Brenda: The calls to Mbagathi hospital did not go through, that’s when I decide to take a cab and go there myself.”However, in an interview on Citizen TV on Wednesday night, Brenda thanked nurses and staff at the Kenyatta National Hospital for helping her to pull through the quarantine period.

So, where was Brenda quarantined?

How does Brian fit into Brenda’s story?

Brian Orinda, the third patient to recover from the coronavirus said he contracted the virus from Brenda.“I got the disease through contact with Brenda. Immediately her results were out, the authorities came for me. When I tested positive, they embarked on my treatment,” he said during the video conference with Uhuru.In an interesting twist, Brenda denies knowing Brian prior to contracting the coronavirus.

When asked who Brian was, she responded that she came to know him when he was brought into the isolation ward at Mbagathi hospital.Minutes later, she contradicts herself by saying Brian was one of the people who had been at her house in Rongai, after her return from the US.Brenda had also earlier said that after she experienced a mild cough and fever three days after her return, she made a few calls to her friends who had been to her house.So, how did Brenda infect Brian?

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How old is Brenda?

While announcing the news of Kenya’s first confirmed positive case, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said, “the case is a Kenyan citizen who travelled back to Nairobi returning from the United States of America via London, United Kingdom on March 5, 2020.

She was confirmed positive by the National Influenza Centre Laboratory at the National Public Health Laboratories of the Ministry of Health. The patient is clinically stable, and is being managed at the Infectious Diseases Unit at the Kenyatta National Hospital.”

Kagwe said the patient was a 27-year-old woman.Brenda says she is 26-year-old.“I got it from the media when it was announced…that’s when someone called and said, Ivy, I think that is you,” she told NTV’s Dennis Okari.

Regarding her age, she said, “the media actually said I was 27-year-old, then I was like no, but I’m 26 years old… But I connected the dots.”Age is just a number. 26 or 27 is certainly a big deal for a woman. We get you Brenda!

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How a slight headache sparked Covid-19 fears and rush to hospital during curfew



A sudden illness on Tuesday night transformed me from a storyteller to being the story.

It started with my friend developing joint aches, which escalated to a serious headache. My suggestion that we seek medical attention was dismissed outright.

As the situation deteriorated, the nightmare began. Could it be Covid- 19? I didn’t want to contemplate.

Since I was the ‘healthy’ one, I had to calm the fraying nerves. “No, you don’t have corona. I think it’s just a normal fever,” I declared, although from the laughter that greeted my declaration, it was clear my attempt at raising optimism had failed.

Then came another problem: It was past 7pm and the dusk-to-dawn curfew was in effect. I started mental mapping of the nearest hospital accessible from Imara Daima. My best bet was South B or Nairobi West. In the worst case scenario, I could try Nairobi Hospital, Coptic or Aga Khan. My patient was showing alarming signs of weakness.

I took the matter into my hands. I called my place of work, asked for the staff clinic and found a cheery gentleman on the line. I explained the nature of emergency facing me and the man was very sympathetic.

Unfortunately, he could not send an ambulance. He advised me to carry my staff identity card on my way to the hospital and call him if I ran into the police. He would talk to them.

He assured me that the police were under orders to treat such cases sympathetically.

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Now, if there’s one lesson my 30 years of practising journalism has taught me, it’s this; orders tend to disappear somewhere along the chain of command and the officer on the beat is usually free to use their discretion, nearly always with disastrous outcomes for those they come into contact with.

I had the option of using my press card but this would have involved a bit of inveigling in explaining the case of my patient, who was stretched out on the back seat. We said a short prayer and hit the road.

Crash statistics

The Nairobi I saw on Tuesday night was totally different from the city I have known since my early teenage years.

Easing into Mombasa Road felt like driving in another planet.

The road is normally busy at this time of the night with workers heading back home, taxis racing their fares to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to catch flights while, in the air, the huge planes approaching for landing normally fly so low you almost see those on board.

Not on this night. The road was deserted and, for a moment or two, I was transported to the pages of the popular Christian fiction books Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins, which describe life on earth after the rapture promised by the Bible has taken place.

As I approached the Kenya Railways bridge, just before General Motors, I saw a traffic policeman stopping a G4S van. My patient murmured a quiet and fast prayer that we wouldn’t be stopped.

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The prayers worked and I once again had the entire road all to myself. I fought the temptation to gun down the car because, although my patient would not admit it, I knew the situation was getting worse. I remembered road crash statistics and was grimly reminded that accidents had caused more deaths on our roads than headaches.

I took the turn into South B and was greeted by more shock. You see, the area stretching from South B through South C and to Nairobi West has been my stomping ground and is one corner of our globe that rarely goes to sleep, not this early. Driving into Mariakani Cottage Hospital, I found a group of friendly watchmen who were more than willing to direct me to the parking.

We ambled into the casualty and found the place empty. A friendly nurse took us through the paces of registration and directing my patient to the doctor.

Favourable result

The dreaded moment was finally here. What the doctor would find out had the potential of changing both our lives in ways we couldn’t even imagine: If he had recommended the patient for a Covid-19 test based on the lab analysis, mandatory quarantine would follow.

Since I had been the one handling the patient, the same fate awaited me.

Subconsciously, I replayed the figures Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe had been doling out in his briefings. My mind wandered to Italy, Spain, the US and the other places the virus had ravaged.

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With massive

effort, I blocked out such thoughts and focused on getting favourable results.

As I sat there, a man walked in with his daughter who looked seriously ill.

From their dusty feet, it was evident that they had done some serious hoofing before getting to the hospital.

My patient came out with a smile that could light up a Christmas tree. It was an all-clear from the doctor. Turns out it was a case of bacterial infection.

There was no need for further tests. We hugged and back-slapped one another.

I don’t think a bacterial infection had ever been celebrated that much since God created the earth.

The trip back home was easier and faster. Just as we had made a pact with God as we left home, we said a prayer of thanksgiving; thanking God for having the means of getting to hospital, for medical facilities that are near, doctors and nurses to man them and even the ability to pay for the services offered.

We also remembered to pray for the nameless man we had left at the reception waiting to hear from the doctor on the fate of his daughter.

Joseph Mboya is a Nairobi-based journalist


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