A look at the selective application of covid-19 protocols in the country
The Ministry of Health’s covid-19 assessment in the country continues to show a worrying trend of the disease, the pandemic has continued to ravage the nation claiming lives. As of 21st August 2021, the ministry’s statistics about the disease revealed a 15.5% positivity rate.
Following this increase of cases in the country, President Uhuru Kenyatta decided to extend covid19 containment measures for a further 60 days.
Through a statement on 18th of August 2021 the President suspended all physical and in person public gatherings and meetings, this including political rallies and the 10pm to 4 am curfew for a further 60 days.
“That the hours of curfew in the territory of the Republic of Kenya shall continue to be observed from 10pm to 4am for a further containment period of 60 days,” Uhuru said.
“That all physical and in person public gatherings and meetings including political rallies, and campaign meetings for impending by elections are hereby suspended with immediate effect for a period of 60 days,” he added.
But let’s not forget that this is not the first time the government is issuing such directives, in fact since march 2020 when the first corona virus cases were reported in the country, the government has been issuing covid19 directives to try and contain the spread of the disease.
“All political gatherings and rallies are suspended for a period of 60 days with immediate effect. Anyone wishing to hold such meetings should do so in town halls and must observe all covid19 protocols, including limiting the attendees to one third capacity of the hall,” the President noted in address to the nation on 4th November 2020.
Despite issuing this raft of measures at combating the spread of the disease, politicians have been on the forefront in defying them hence making many Kenyans question the sincerity of these directives and if they are being applied selectively.
“Si inakuanga hivyo, wewe patikana tu kwa pub unakunywa ukijituliza unakimbizwa mbaya, lakini mapoliticians hawaguswi na hawa masanse. If a common mwananchi is found drinking at a pub during curfew hours, police officers will not hesitate to arrest him/her, but that does not apply to politicians,” Kelvin Maina a resident in Ngara says.
“Uliona ile ilifanyika Embu vijana wakafinywa na polisi juu ya curfew. pia ulicheki Kayole vile kulienda?hii serikali inapenda kutunyanyasa sana.You saw what happened in Embu where police officers killed two brothers after arrest for allegedly flouting covid19 curfew rules, And also in Tushauriane Kayole where the police killed a bodaboda rider at night after violating the night curfew” Damaris Achieng aka mama uji, a porridge hawker in Ngara says.
For instance Deputy President William Ruto has been holding meetings at his Karen home, most of the meetings being held to strategize on the 2022 general election. This is despite covid19 directives on mass gatherings being in force.
On 18th of August 2021, he held a meeting with over 600 aspirants who wished to contest in Nairobi, assuring them of free and fair party primaries.
“It will be a win win race. Those who will lose in the primaries will be considered for nominations in the order of their performance,” he said.
On 19th August 2021, opposition leader Raila Odinga also held a consultative meeting with over 1500 delegates fom Siaya,Kisumu,Homabay,Nyamira,Migori and Kisii at Sikri vocational training institute in Oyugis Homaby county, this is even after meeting crowds in Nakuru the previous day.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has also on several occasions addressed crowds as his convoy passed on his different tours in the country.
On Sunday 22nd August 2021, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua hosted an expansive birthday party at the Ole Sereni Hotel in Nairobi. The event was graced by who is who in the entertainment and political scene. The party obviously breached protocols established by the government to combat the spread of covid19 few days ago. Anyway that’s a story for another day.
This inequality in the enforcing of the rules has angered Trade Associations across the hospitality, entertainment, and even retail in the country and who are now calling for the reopening of the economy and even ending the covid19 containment measures to reduce loss of livelihoods from the harsh effects of the pandemic. They accused some security officers of carting away products from restaurants and bars in the country in addition to outright extortion.
“Unfortunately we have had an alarming increase of police harassment of bars, restaurants and other establishments over the past three weeks, Kariobangi, Westlands, Karen and Langata in Nairobi,” Pubs Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya PERAK Nairobi chairman Frank Mbogo lamented at a presser with journalists.
According to the Nairobi Metropolitan services NMS, as of August 16 at least 10 percent of Nairobi residents have received the covid19 jab with about 447,121 people being able to be vaccinated in the drive that was launched six months ago. Now with the continuing surge of covid19 cases in the fourth wave, vaccination is the only way to go.
“In Nairobi there is no vaccination hesitance. We have managed to vaccinate about 10 percent of the population while the countrywide rate is only two percent,” NMS Health director Dr. Ouma Oluga was quoted.
BY WEMA TOYWA #WEMA’STAKE