Vehicles passing the Mau Summit police roadblock after Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna announced an extension of the restrictions for 24 hours on March 27, 2021. Photo Kipsang Joseph

 

A move by police to erect blockades along the boundaries of the five counties affected by the State’s cessation of movement resulted in a massive traffic gridlock yesterday.

With transport coming to a standstill for hours, the government was forced to back down and give a grace period for people to travel in and out of Nairobi, Kiambu, Machakos, Kajiado and Nakuru.

Travellers rushing to western Kenya caused a massive traffic jam along the Maai Mahiu Road as they tried to leave Nairobi following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive on Covid-19 travel restrictions.

It was the same situation in Nakuru and at the Chania Bridge, which connects Nairobi and Mt Kenya counties. The traffic jam stretched for kilometres with truckers making the already bad situation worse.

Police had a hard time trying to restore order as they directed truckers headed to Mombasa to use the Thogoto-Mutarakwa road because other motorists had overlapped.

Janet Bosibori, who was headed to Kisii, said she got stuck in the jam on Friday as she tried to flee from the city. “I was escaping Nairobi to get to Kisii in good time for a family event, which I felt that I must attend. My bid to escape has not paid any dividends as daybreak has found me here trying to weave my way out.”

Stranded passengers recounted their suffering after leaving Nairobi on Friday evening only to be caught in heavy traffic along the Nairobi-Nakuru and Nairobi-Maai Mahiu highways where they spent the night.

The gridlock was occasioned by a sharp increase in number of travellers leaving Nairobi for upcountry, with everyone trying to beat the midnight deadline.

Philip Kimani, who was headed to Eldoret, said he left Nairobi at 5pm only for the curfew to catch up with him while he was still kilometres away from his destination.

“We were forced to spend the night in the bus at Maai Mahiu due to the traffic snarl-up. When the road was cleared, we travelled to Mau Summit arriving there at 11am,” said Mr Kimani.

But Mau Summit happened to be the spot for one of the roadblocks erected to restrict road movement by persons into Nakuru from Uasin Gishu and Kericho.

Lillian Akinyi, who was heading to Mumias, said they were forced to disembark from the bus that was impounded and held at Mau Summit Police Station.

“I had left Mombasa and arrived in Nairobi on Friday at 2pm. I didn’t realise the President had issued a new order and took a rest. It dawned on me when I was looking for a matatu to western Kenya only to find the terminus crowded,” said Ms Akinyi.

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya said nine roadblocks will be set up. One of the roadblock was placed at Mau Narok-Mwisho Wa Lami to restrict movement of people from Narok. There was also another active roadblock in Subukia to stop those coming or going to Laikipia and Nyandarua.

Mr Natembeya, however, could not explain why a blockade was put at Maai Mahiu, which borders Nakuru and Kiambu, instead of Suswa that marks the boundary with Narok.

Other roadblocks will be active today at Dundori Market on the Nakuru-Nyandarua border, Kambi ya Moto near Baringo border, Karunga in Gilgil as you head to Ol Kalou, and at Kinungi on the Nakuru-Nairobi highway.

At Lari along the Nakuru-Nairobi highway, a multi-agency team comprising officers from the rapid deployment unit, and regular and administration police had mounted a road block that caused confusion.

Back routes

Most motorist did not understand why the barrier was erected there because Lari is in Kiambu and, according to the President’s directive, the barrier should be outside the county. This led to matatus dropping off passengers one kilometre away. Boda boda operators then used back routes to take the travellers past the barrier.

Lari deputy OCPD Charles Opondo said, “We are here for enforcement of Covid rules. We are basically checking that everyone has a mask and social distance is maintained. This is a very friendly check point.”

In Mt Kenya, PSV operators hiked fares to various destinations minutes after the stiffer travel measures were announced.

There was traffic snarl-up from Karigu-ini to Kenol town and between Makuyu and Kenol following increased traffic to Nanyuki. 

Traffic police were overwhelmed by the high number of road users who were taking shortcuts to avoid being caught by curfew.

The lucky drivers are the ones who opted to use the Kenol-Murang’a-Sagana route to reach their destinations as hundreds spent the night in the gridlock between Kenol and Makuyu.

Stephen Macharia, a driver, said he left Nairobi at 5pm and arrived in Karatina after 1am. - George Njunge, Boniface Gikandi and Kennedy Gachuhi, The Standard

Safaricom on Friday launched trials for the high-speed fifth generation (5G) network that will be powered by Nokia and Huawei.

Chief Executive Peter Ndegwa said the trials will begin with both individual and enterprise customers in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii and Kakamega.

Kenya's biggest telecom operator, partly owned by South Africa's Vodacom and Britain's Vodafone will leverage on the super fast 5G infrastructure to entrench its data offerings.

As part of its trial, the company plans to expand the number of 5G sites to 150 across nine towns over the next 12 months, primarily to establish if customers can enjoy speeds of up to 700 Megabits per second, with plans to upscale the speeds to over 1,000 Mbps incoming months. 

“Today marks a major milestone for the country. With 5G, we aim to empower our customers with super-fast internet at work, at home and when on the move, supplementing our growing fibre network,” said Ndegwa.

He added, "That they (Huawei) are used all over the world. we find them to be reliable."

The 5G technology will be an alternative to Home Fibre and Fibre for business services, targeting customers in places where Safaricom is yet to roll out its fibre network. Data by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) indicates that by September last year, Safaricom controlled 67.5 per cent of the mobile data segment in Kenya, in addition to a 35.6 per cent share of the home and office by fibre market.

Ndegwa said enterprise and Home Internet customers on the service will be provided with a 5G router. Additionally, the 5G service will be available on mobile phones beginning with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro and P40, with Nokia 8.3, Samsung Galaxy S21 series, Samsung Galaxy ZFold2 and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G coming on board by the end of April 2021.

“I congratulate Safaricom on this milestone, reinforcing the country’s position at being at the forefront of innovation in the region and the world. 5G technology will usher increased internet speeds and capabilities for millions across the country, laying a strong foundation for a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Joe Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information and Technology.

“As the government we cannot licence a technology that we have not tested to ensure its safety and viability. We have worked with the company (Huawei) before and we can assure Kenyans that it’s safe for use,” added CS Mucheru.

The 5G technology can support up to 1 million connected devices per square kilometre compared to 4G which can only support up to 100,000 connected devices in a similar area.

This makes 5G suitable for providing super-fast internet speeds in high density areas and for linking thousands of connected devices such as in manufacturing and supply chain management for businesses. Nokia and Huawei have been chosen as the two technology partners to implement the roll out of Safaricom’s 5G network. By Noel Wandera, PdOnline

 

A squabble between a woman and her lover turned tragic last Wednesday after she killed an acquaintance.

Two others are admitted in a Nairobi hospital where they are nursing serious knife wounds.

Police officers at Kasarani Police Station had to make special arrangements to hold the woman in a lone cell after she turned violent on others. 

The woman and her lover disagreed while on their way home and started exchanging blows in an open field at Kamae in Kahawa West.

Some curious onlookers cheered them on while another group attempted to intervene.

It is at this point that things took a tragic turn when the woman pulled out a dagger and stabbed one man to death and injured two others.

Anne Mwangi, who runs a kiosk in the area, said the suspect and the three men seemed drunk and are known to each other.

Deep cut

DCI chief George Kinoti said one of the men who sustained a deep cut on his ear bled to death.  

The other injured men are currently admitted to the Kenyatta University Hospital ICU where they are receiving treatment for stab wounds. 

Those who witnessed the attack say the woman was swift and appeared to possess special skills. 

Kinoti said the police were informed by the public that the suspect was later seen licking blood off one of the victims.

The police chief said the investigators intend to take the suspect for mental examination.

“We will get into the bottom of the matter,” said Kasarani Police boss Muthuri Mwongela.

But the suspect denied that she was in possession of any special skills.

Yesterday, The Saturday Standard spoke to the suspect at the Kasarani Police Station where she will spend the next 14 days as the DCI completes the murder probe.

In an exclusive interview, the suspect claimed she was not aware that she had committed any offence and claimed that she was in communication with God who directed her to deal with errant public.

“I didn’t kill anyone. God spoke to me and asked me to deal with bad people," she claimed.

According to her, she was fighting back after unknown people attacked a prayer session she was having with her boyfriend at Kahawa West near the railway crossing.

She said she was not under the influence of any drugs. She said she was also not a drug abuser. - Kamore Maina, The Standard

Photo Radio Tamazuj

 

A South Sudanese human rights defender is demanding that detained musician Larson Angok be presented before a court of law for trial or released.

Last week, police in Wau town of Western Bahr el Ghazal State detained the popular singer in what was seen as an arrest over a controversial Facebook post or his recently produced songs. 

According to the state chairperson of the artists’ union Garang Dut, Larson was arrested by members of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Wau, saying he was wanted for questioning. 

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, lawyer Philip Anyang, a human rights defender said it is against the law to hold someone for more than 24 hours and called on those holding him to urgently produce him before a court of law.

“There is no reason why someone can be detained for more than 24 hours without being produced before the court of law. If there is sufficient reason for further investigations, there are orders that are sought from the investigation officer through the order of the public attorney. The arrest of Larson Angok for the last four or five days has sparked a lot of chaos from many concerned South Sudanese and it’s a question of law," Anyang said. "So the question that can be sought now is where is he being held, who is holding him, who is the complainant and why is he being arrested so these are things that have not been understood by the public.” 

Anyang added that further detention is illegal and a violation of his rights. 

“The more he is being kept there you are violating his right, freedom of expression, and the right to liberty. No one can be kept there and we are not being told why he is being kept, he should be kept as the law provides,” Anyang pointed out.

Martin Mayep, a close relative to Larson Angok reiterated that they do not know why their kin is in detention.

He said they are concerned about his health condition since they have not had access to him. 

However, South Sudan Police spokesperson Daniel Justin confirmed that Larson is in their custody and court proceedings will soon begin. 

“We finished the investigation but the decision has not yet been made. He is a police officer with an assistant rank. We are the ones who arrested him; he is under our custody. He was arrested for the mistake he made. The investigation is finished but we are waiting for the investigator to raise the issue to his commodore and he will tell me the charges. Then they will inform me of the result," he noted.

Justin did not reveal the charges leveled against the musician. - Radio Tamazuj

Ethiopia receives 2.2M COVAX COVID-19 vaccines.
Source: Twitter, WHO Ethiopia.

 44 African countries have received batches of COVID-19 vaccines through the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility, the agency said in Thursday, noting that 32 of those countries had already rolled out mas vaccinations.

The WHO Africa region said in a statement that some 7.7 million doses had already been administered around the continent, though vaccine deliveries had begun slowing down.

It urged for urgent supply of more vaccine doses as countries on the continent near exhaustion of their batches. 

Most countries that have rolled out vaccination drives in Africa have targeted high risk groups including healthcare workers, the elderly and essential service providers. 

The WHO African region noted that 10 countries were yet to receive their vaccine batches, and that a critical proportion of the population targeted in the initial phase of the vaccination campaign may remain unvaccinated for months to come due to global supply chain constraints.

“A slowdown in vaccine supply could prolong the painful journey to end this pandemic for millions of people in Africa,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa. “While some high-income countries are seeking to vaccinate their entire populations, many in Africa are struggling to sufficiently cover even their high-risk groups. Acquiring COVID-19 vaccines must not be a competition. Fair access will benefit all and not just some of us.”

By Thursday, the continent had reported 4,139,706 COVID-19 infections with 110,846 deaths, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Recently, some African countries have seen surged in new infections and deaths as a third wave of the virus batters the continent.

These include Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya have recorded a rising infection trend in recent weeks.

The WHO Africa region attributed the rise in cases to super-spreader events such as mass gatherings as well as a relaxation by the population in observing public health measures. How Africa

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