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Blackouts make working from home difficult

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A popular response to the outbreak of the new coronavirus has been social distancing. After the announcement of the first case in Kenya, the government encouraged organisations to allow their employees to work from home.

The decision has been criticised by many Kenyans, who are of the opinion that it can work only for the middle class, who have access to technology, internet connectivity, affordable housing, and an assured monthly income.

I am one of the many employees who have been working remotely for a week now. We were informed that meetings would be conducted via Skype for Business, and that travel — whether local or international — was discouraged. In theory, it made perfect sense. We all understood that minimising movement would reduce exposure to the virus.

My last matatu trip was on March 16. Save for a few other public service vehicles, the roads were pretty empty that Monday morning. And so was the CBD. However, in the evening, hawkers were busy at work. I asked one woman what she thought of the directive to work from home.

“This is how I make money to feed my family. If we all closed our businesses, won’t we become thieves?” she posed. I chuckled, but that confirmed that there are many issues that need to be addressed for social distancing to work.

Working from home was supposed to be smooth sailing, at least that’s what it looked like on social media.

Countries in the West had implemented it successfully — rent had been temporarily suspended in some, healthcare was guaranteed and other basic amenities that they previously had to buy were now free. I have internet connectivity, electricity, a laptop and food; what could go wrong?

When I woke up on Wednesday, I was prepared to follow my usual routine: Shower, take breakfast then get to work by 9am. But then there was a blackout. I learnt that there was a scheduled power outage, and that it would last until about 5pm.

Determined to follow the government directive, I bought bundles. But my laptop was running out of charge, as was my phone. I needed to finish working by 3pm, yet it was already 12pm. Desperate, I headed for a nearby cafe and got down to work.

Total shutdown

The blackouts have been frequent, as has been the poor connectivity.

As the case count went higher, the government became stricter about keeping people at home because, true to fact, social distancing is the best chance at containing the spread of the virus.

I am rarely at home, so this is a good time to get acclimatised to the place. I have a really nice bedroom and my dogs are remarkable listeners.

Whispers on social media spoke of a looming total shutdown as the week wore on. I worried about the cab drivers I had met in the days before I started working from home, who worried for their own safety and livelihood.

They were worried that as more people started working from home, they would make fewer trips, although their employers would compensate them for the time they might have to spend isolated.

Access to the internet is one of the many limitations regarding this isolation.

To mitigate this, the government announced an initiative that would guarantee 4G internet to people living in remote areas to enable them to work from home and their children to learn remotely. But this would take some time.

Power outages I wondered though, whether the government would ever address the power outages.

Delivery services seem to be working just fine. Until clubs were also shut down, it seemed like people were still facilitating the spread of the virus. The government had to track more than 600 people who might been affected.

It has been a week since this isolation began. Adjusting my schedule has been an arduous process, but I think I’m settling in just fine. It might take a bit longer to adjust to this new reality, talking to people about when it will end, if it will. Musicians have concerts on Instagram Live, Facebook and Twitch.

Socialising is a virtual activity now.

More than ever, the news of the virus has become a staple. Good or bad, the public is eager to know whether this cloud will pass. History says it will, even if it seems like it might take a while. The best we can do is find ways to make this digital life a success.

I hope the right interventions are put in place for those less privileged and well, stay at home. The distance will make all the difference.

Ms Murage is a correspondent with the Nation Media Group.

By Daily Nation

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Atwoli intensifies fight with DP Ruto over hustler tag

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BY KEVIN KOECH

The Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli has once again put Deputy President William Ruto on blast for using the ‘hustler’ tag.

Speaking during a press conference, the Atwoli stated that the tag hustler had a negative meaning which translates to someone who uses mischievous ways to get wealth.

He added that all Kenyans are yearning for is an organized system of government that could provide employment and not creating hustlers.

He pointed out that William Ruto was not poor as he makes his supporters believe and he is just using them to climb to the top. He disclosed that William Ruto owns choppers, mansions, and every space in the country.

Atwoli went on to call out the DP for the donations he has been giving out to the youths and women stating that they were just peanuts compared to the amount of wealth he has amassed over the years.

“The person telling you about being a hustler owns five choppers, a mansion and owns every empty space in the republic of Kenya. You are calling yourself a hustler and yet you are not. Even God cannot allow. Then you go to the church to cheat about being a hustler,” he said.

A few days ago, Atwoli blasted William Ruto for using the tag while asking Kenyans to reject him stating that no one should allow themselves to be called a hustler. He claimed that hustlers are thieves.

Atwoli who claimed that he would disown his children if they referred themselves as hustlers stated that people should go to school, get an education and get jobs in reputable companies instead of hustling.

“You then become a branch manager of Kenya Breweries, get a house allowance, a car loan, and have a nice house. You are not hustlers. We cannot have a nation of hustlers because it is a man eats man society,” Atwoli said.

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Joyce Maina confirms dating sports anchor Tony Kwalanda

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BY KEVIN KOECH

After several speculations from netizens over who Joyce Maina’s mysterious man is, she has finally confirmed that she is dating Switch Tv’s sports journalist Tony Kwalanda.

The two have decided not to hide their strong emotions from the public anymore; as many of their social media fans already seemed to have uncovered their relationship.

They made the official announcement through their Instagram stories earlier today by uploading a photo of the lovebirds romantically kissing. They each also use the same picture as their phone wallpapers.

It is unclear when this work-relationship started since both the anchors work at Red Cross owned station Switch Tv.

However, just two months ago, sports journalist Tony Kwalanda confessed his long-time crush for Joyce Maina during one of his interviews on Chatspot Tv show.

At the time Tony Kwalanda was yet to meet Joyce Maina, but he confessed having watched her show several times.

He further suggested that the two go on even one date, which to our surprise, has blossomed to this beautiful union.

Joyce Maina started posting her photos with her alleged mysterious man about a week ago, which raised many speculations amongst her fans.

Some of her fans suggested that she was dating gospel singer’s Size 8 husband and Crossover show host Dj Mo.

This story highly angered the Chatspot show host, and she angrily lashed out on live TV, calling the fake rumour-mongers ‘sad pathetic losers’ for thinking that she’d publicly post a married man.

Joyce Maina added that she does not know Dj Mo personally neither has she ever met him in person.

According to her, she likes her men dark skin and also she would never break a stable home as she knows the importance of children growing with both parents.

Tony Kwalanda started working at Switch TV about three months ago after being fired from K24 TV where he had worked for 11 years. He was among over 100 journalists who had been laid off by the station over alleged redundancy.

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Citizen TV, Milele FM correspondents escape unhurt in carjack incident 

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Two journalists escaped death by a whisker after carjackers wielding machetes attacked them in Kisii on Thursday night, September 24.

The two, Citizen TV’s Chrispine Otieno and Milele FM’s Monica Zabibu, were traveling together when this incident happened.

They had gone to cover a charity event at Gasinga in Kisii.

While the two were traveling back, a D-Max pickup overtook their Probox only to block the road a few meters ahead.

The D-Max participants ordered the journalists out and started harassing them.

Some area residents revealed they saw another vehicle, a minivan joining the scene, and continue to harass the journalists.

In an effort to save himself, Chrispine Otieno ran into a nearby maize farm, leaving the others behind.

However, the Citizen TV news anchor tripped and injured his leg.

The police and other villagers rescued Milele FM’s Zabibu and the other two people in the Probox.

Jebel Munene, Kisii County Police Commander, confirmed the incident and further revealed he had deployed police officers to the scene to conduct investigations on the matter.

This is not the first time that robbers have attempted to injure journalists, in January, the Media Council of Kenya called upon the DPP to investigate cases of police officers assaulting journalists.

“MCK wishes to draw the attention of the director of public prosecutions and Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) to this matter with a view of facilitating justice for the journalists affected by the pending cases,” the media council said during a press conference.

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