Kenya: Did President Kenyatta Flout COVID-19 Guidelines?

The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi (file photo).
analysis

President Uhuru Kenyatta's appearance at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) to chair the Jubilee Parliamentary Group meeting Monday had tongues wagging, with questions as to whether he was breaking the Ministry of Health Covid-19 regulations.

The meeting came only seven days after State House confirmed that four members of staff had tested positive for Covid-19.

According to the guidelines, anyone who might have come into contact with the four should have remained in quarantine for 14 days from the date the cases were confirmed to June 29, before being subjected to another test. It is not clear whether the four State House staff ever came into contact with the President.

TESTED POSITIVE

However, there were reports that contact tracing by the multi-agency team comprising officials from the Ministry of Health, the National Intelligence Service (NIS), the Police and the World Health Organisation (WHO) ,among others, got State House Comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua, who later tested positive for the disease.

That aside, the fact that there were so many people gathered at KICC yesterday also seemed to fly in the face of Ministry of Health guidelines banning political gatherings or meetings of more than 15 people.

The social distancing protocol that Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe keeps on preaching also melted into thin air as the President, Deputy President William Ruto and a horde of Jubilee MPs stood on the stairs at the KICC for a photo session.

This comes as Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai said that the police would enforce the guidelines on preventing the spread the spread of Covid-19 fairly, regardless of one's social status.

Mr Mutyambai spoke after ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi accused the government of enforcing the guidelines selectively.

However, even as Mr Mudavadi and Mutyambai spoke, their message appeared to fly with the winds, at least to the President and his MPs.

APPLY LAW

Mr Mudavadi also questioned why police had not taken similar action when Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya met elders in the Western region a week ago.

"You cannot have a law that restricts some people while at the same time allows others to carry out their activities in total disregard of the regulations by the Ministry of Health on Covid-19," Mr Mudavadi said.

"Police are sending a wrong signal by discriminately applying the law on Covid-19. It is proper for Kenyans to be protected against the spread of Covid-19 but it is wrong for police to apply the law discriminately," he added.

"The National Police Service is absolutely apolitical. We are currently implementing the Covid-19 protocols and guidelines as stipulated by the Ministry of Health and we urge the public as well as all leaders to adhere to the set rules. We will continue to strictly enforce this," Mr Mutyambai said.

Mr Mutyambai spoke after the police disrupted a meeting by Western Kenya MPs allied to the ANC leader at Malava MP Malulu Injendi's home in Kakamega County to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The Jubilee PG meeting's agenda was clear - to have Mr Aden Duale, a man who gave the inaugural leader of majority position under the new constitution political fire power, removed.

Only three people spoke during the meeting.

Meru County Woman Representative Kawira Mwangaza opened and closed the meeting with a word of prayer after being invited by Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju.

VOTE BY ACCLAMATION

After the prayer, Mr Tuju read the agenda for the day. He invited DP Ruto to make his remarks as the deputy party leader.

But DP Ruto said he had no comments to make. At this point Mr Tuju invited the President to takeover.

The president was brief in his comments. He introduced the petition that had been signed by MPs calling for Mr Duale's removal. The President read the petition, which was that the meeting resolve to have Mr Duale removed from the position.

When the matter was put to vote by acclamation, those who opposed Mr Duale's removal appeared much louder than those of a contrary opinion, according to some of the MPs who were in the meeting.

The president ignored those in support of Mr Duale as he proposed that Mr Kimunya be the leader of majority. He was seconded by Laikipia County Woman Representative Catherine Waruguru, who until recently, was a DP Ruto diehard supporter.

MAJORITY LEADER

Because there was no challenger, the proposal was not subjected to a vote as Mr Kimunya was announced the majority leader.

The President would again propose Eldas MP Adan Keynan as the Jubilee Coalition secretary in the National Assembly. He was seconded by Murang'a County Woman Rep Sabina Chege. Again the name sailed through as there was no challenger.

"We wanted Mr Duale to continue. We expressed our strong "Nays" but the strangest thing is that the President overruled us. No one was allowed the chance to say anything. They succeeded. Mr Duale is now out," said Soy MP Caleb Kositany.

"This time round, the meeting was cordial. Hakukuwa na makasiriko. It ended well and the boss had his say," he added.

Although a brief from state house indicated that 174 Jubilee MPs attended the meeting, Mr Kositany told the Nation that 147 MPs were present, according to the list read by Mr Tuju.

"I do not know where State House got the extra names of the MPs who attended the meeting," Mr Kositany said when asked about the disparities in the two lists.

More From: Nation

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.