Untouchables: Kenyan politicians break Covid-19 protocols again

ODM guide Raila Odinga ended his two-day tour of Taita Taveta County with a speech at a rally in Voi Town, where residents emphatically declared their support for BBI on March 2, 2021. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

Despite the strict Covid-19 protocols that went into effect last year, the top political leader has continually disregarded the same thing, leaving a trail of infections and deaths.

From President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto, to opposition leader Raila Odinga and her cronies, top leadership continues to oppose the same protocols it seeks to enforce and use to reprimand those of “lower” status in society.

There was a flurry of political events over the past weekend as their leaders toured various counties – some to launch projects and others to popularize their attack on the presidency, attracting a mammoth and possibly a torrent of Covid-19 infections .

It is noteworthy that only about one million Kenyans are vaccinated, but the remaining 53 million are susceptible to the novel disease.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga held a series of meetings with politicians on the coast on Sunday to consolidate his influence in the region and stave off DP Ruto’s forays.

Raila met politicians from Mombasa, Kilifi and Taita Taveta at his residence in Nyali. The day before, Raila was in Treasury Square in the Mvita constituency to start the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) health insurance for the constituency.

ANC Leader Musalia Mudavadi began his two-day tour of Nakuru County on Saturday, which began with a courtesy visit to Governor Lee Kinyanjui. He then toured the town of Nakuru, accompanied by Nairobi’s Senator Johnson Sakaja among other guides, where they interacted with a huge crowd.

On Sunday, the former Deputy Prime Minister was scheduled to attend two church services starting at 8:30 a.m. NEEMA PCEA and at St. Peters Catholic Church, Lanet. He should then meet representatives of the congregations in the cosmopolitan district.

The tour was barely three weeks after Mudavadi completed another one in Mombasa, where he held meetings with various local leaders and residents to raise support for his 2022 presidential bid.

The Vice President was also on duty, where he took part in the PCEA service in Umoja and in a fundraising campaign for the construction of a youth church.

The deputy commander later spoke at a public meeting in Umoja. Ruto has also received delegations at his home at Karen’s and met various women’s and youth groups.

In addition, the western region, which is under intense lockdown, is currently suffering from a surge in coronavirus infections following the Madaraka Day celebrations in Kisumu.

Even before the festival on June 1, the coronavirus infections skyrocketed, the isolation wards in the hospitals filled up and the highly contagious Delta variant was first found in Kenya in the Kisumu district.

On the day of the celebrations, reaching the social distancing measure was a nightmare due to the high number of people at the Jomo Kenyatta International sports complex.

It used to be estimated that only 3,000 invited guests would enter the complex, but on D-Day all 17 bleachers around the stadium were full.

The consequences are now echoing across the region, as evidenced by the latest Covid-19 statistics, which point to an alarming rise in infections and deaths.

To counter the ongoing crisis in the area, the Ministry of Health imposed a restriction on gatherings and extended a twilight-to-dawn curfew in Kisumu and more than a dozen surrounding counties, but it may simply have been too late.

By-election campaigns, such as those currently running in the Muguga district and the Kiambaa constituency, are also responsible for the spread of Covid-19.

In the by-election scheduled for July 15, the top candidates – Kariri Njama from Jubilee and his UDA competitor Njuguna Wanjiku – intensified their campaigns. They have resorted to measures such as door-to-door campaigns, road shows, and even gatherings.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, however, subtly defended the politicians, saying they would only stop speaking in front of gatherings at the behest of the public.

“The truth is that when politicians, including the president, go around the country and start projects, for example, people naturally rush to see them,” Kagwe said in an earlier interview with The Standard.

He admitted that it was the job of the police to act against violations of the Covid-19 protocols, but urged Kenyans to avoid political gatherings.

“Social responsibility requires that you shouldn’t be at a political gathering when you know you shouldn’t be. If we all stopped going to political rallies, they would stop. If for some reason we get crowded in places we will get an increase in cases, ”he added.

Interfaith Council Chairman Anthony Muheria urged political leaders to address the increasing cases in the western region.

“Sometimes we have to do unreasonable things. We have to worry as Kenyans and sacrifice some things for our survival, ”said Muheria.


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