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ASALs counties declare formation of UPYA Movement ahead of 2022 polls

The UPYA movement will also be used as a tool to unite residents from ASAL areas to articulate a common political position and objectives for the 2022 elections, negotiate for greater socio-economic investment and development in the region.

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Leaders from ASALs counties addressing journalists in Naivasha.PHOTO/Pristone Mambili.

Leaders from Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of Garissa, Isiolo, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana and Wajir have declared to rally behind new political formation UPYA Movement.

The leaders led by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani met in Naivasha on Saturday to reflect together on the future of their region to give it a voice and political direction at the national level.

They raised concerns on the effects of the ongoing drought in ASALs
gravely affecting lives and livelihoods in the region.

“We appreciate the quick response directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta declaring the drought a national emergency, thereby mobilizing local and foreign response to respond to the dire situation” they stated.

While noting with concern that despite ASAL areas constituting a vast land mass with a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and culturally diverse population, the leaders argued that has suffered from political and socio-economic marginalisation over the years without a unified voice, and only being regarded as a ‘swing vote’ region.

It is for these reasons that the leaders vowed to use UPYA Movement to ensure unity in the area and that their voice is heard.

“Having learnt from our past mistakes, the time has come to chart a brave and brighter future for the ASAL regions which remain Kenya’s most promising.We pledge our loyalty to the current government as led by His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and with whom we are working closely to resolve the immediate challenges affecting our regions.We declare that the UPYA movement will be the political platform at the national level speaking on behalf of the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of Kenya. As an umbrella political platform, UPYA supports the revitalisation of 2-3 political parties in the region to guarantee the right of our people to participate in the 2022 general election” the said.

Under the new political formation,the leaders vowed to institutionalise and operationalise as as a viable coalition by establishing a functional governance structure from the national to the grassroots across the region.

The UPYA movement will also be used as a tool to unite residents from ASAL areas to articulate a common political position and objectives for the 2022 elections, negotiate for greater socio-economic investment and development in the region.

On the mass voter registration that the IEBC is planning to roll out in October 2021, the leaders called on IEBC to  assure the people of Northern Kenya that it has mechanisms to ensure every eligible citizen in the region is able to register despite the on-going drought.

The leaders also revealed that they wl work with like-minded leaders to unite towards a common agenda for the continued development of Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and the Republic of Kenya at large.

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Laikipia

Senior UK military officers to tour Kenya over 2012 murder coverup near British army base

In 2012, the UK’s Special Investigation Branch carried out initial enquiries in Kenya, including providing information about British personnel to Kenyan police.

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The late Agnes Wanjiru. Photo/Courtesy

Senior United Kingdom military officers will be visiting Kenya in the coming weeks to look into a possible coverup of a murder case involving a Kenyan woman and British soldiers.

The body of 21-year-old Agnes Wanjiru was found at the Lions Court Hotel in Nanyuki town, Laikipia County two months after she disappeared in March 2012.

The identity of the British soldier who allegedly stabbed the woman to death before dumping her body in a hotel septic tank is widely known in the army, but no action has ever been taken against him.

A fellow soldier had gone to the “proper people” immediately after hearing a squaddie confess to the killing but said he was told to “shut up” when he reported it and no action was taken.

British High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott in a statement said the UK was fully cooperating with the investigation and will help in any way it could.

In 2012, she said, the UK’s Special Investigation Branch carried out initial enquiries in Kenya, including providing information about British personnel to Kenyan police.

While expressing outrage and concern about the tragic death, the High Commissioner said no further investigation requests were made by Kenyan authorities at that time.

“Following the conclusion of a Kenyan inquest in 2019, we understand that the Kenyan authorities are looking into the murder. We will support that Kenyan police investigation,” she noted.

She emphasized that the conduct of the UK military in Kenya is incredibly important in enhancing bilateral relations but where there are issues, the UK have and would address them.

However, an inquest was held in Kenya in 2019 in which a judge ruled the mother was ‘murdered by British soldiers’ but no subsequent action was taken by the army.

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COVID-19

Kenya to begin repackaging human vaccines by April 2022

Today, the President said he was pleased to confirm to the nation that Kenya was on course to realize this target. As of today, over 5 million adults have been inoculated.

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Kenya will have the capacity to repackage the COVID-19 vaccine by early next year, President Uhuru Kenya has announced adding that the pandemic had taught the country the essence of self-reliance.

In May, the Ministry of Health said talks were underway with the Oxford AstraZeneca manufacturers to enable the importation of large quantities for repackaging in vials.

In his Mashujaa Day address earlier today at Wang’uru Stadium in Kirinyaga County, the President directed the Ministry of Health to fast-track the vaccine production capacity process.

“As the first step towards this goal, we have established a company to facilitate this venture in the name of Kenya Biovax Limited,” he stated saying the form and fill rollout by Easter of 2022.

The country aims to have a fully-fledged human vaccine manufacturing capability by 2024, the National Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Plan from the Ministry of Health shows.

On June 29, 2021, during his Sixteenth Address on the COVID-19 Pandemic, the President pledged to the nation that by Christmas this year over 10 million adults would have been vaccinated.

Today, the President said he was pleased to confirm to the nation that Kenya was on course to realize this target. As of today, over 5 million adults have been inoculated.

He said compliance to Ministry of Health protocols has seen new infections decline over the last two weeks, as characterized by the positivity rate of below 5 per cent over this period.

“It is, however, important for all of us to appreciate that we are not yet out of the woods. We must, therefore, continue to observe the containment measures as directed by the MoH,” he noted.

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COVID-19

President Uhuru: Why COVID-19 pandemic is a ‘blessing in disguise’

He said the strategic diagnostic investments have strengthened the country’s healthcare system especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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A virus

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented transformations in the country’s health sector, President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced.

He said the transformation is probably one of the most phenomenal testimonies of how Kenya transformed COVID-19 obstacles into opportunities that improved the health sector.

He said one of the unintended benefits of the pandemic is the increase of intensive care unit bed capacity from 108 to 651 ICU ready beds, an impressive 502 per cent.

“Similarly, our total hospital bed capacity as a country has increased by 47 per cent from 56,069 in 2013 to the current figure of 82,291 hospital beds spread throughout the country,” he noted.

While highlighting key achievements during Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kirinyaga County, the President also said the country has improved oxygen production capacity significantly.

The President reported that public health facilities can now produce over 32 million litters of medical Oxygen per day, up from 3 million litres per day in March 2020.

On testing capacity, he said the country in March 2020 only had one referencing laboratory to test notifiable diseases of international concern but now boosts of 95 such labs.

“Let me remind you that at the beginning of the pandemic early last year, we used to ship our samples for testing in South Africa and the results turnaround time would be anything from 5 days onwards,” he stated.

He said the strategic diagnostic investments have strengthened the country’s healthcare system especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It will propel us faster towards the attainment of UHC and fortify our country’s preparedness for future global health security challenges,” he stated.

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