Kenya: Coronavirus Claims Five Ward Reps in a Month

20 November 2020

County assemblies have been hit hard by coronavirus, with at least five ward representatives losing their lives and many others contracting the illness in the past one month.

The County Assemblies Forum (CAF) says sittings, committee meetings and other sessions have been greatly affected by the pandemic.

"We have lost several ward representatives while dozens. Assembly employees have also been affected," CAF chairman Wahome Ndegwa told the Nation.

Nakuru County has lost two ward representative to coronavirus, with one dying in Mombasa, Kisii and Uasin Gishu.

Though Mr Wahome did not give the number of representatives battling coronavirus, the figure could be more than 100.

"As grassroots leaders, ward representatives interact with people in almost all their dealings," Mr Ndegwa said.

Read: Mombasa MCA Mohammed Hatimy succumbs to Covid-19

"I plead with our members to be cautious. These are extraordinary times. Let them avoid unnecessary interactions with themselves or the public."

The CAF boss advised the ward representatives to take the lead in observing and promoting guidelines given by the Ministry of Health.

Nakuru County Assembly lost a second member to the virus on Wednesday night.

Speaker Joel Kairu said London Ward Representative Samuel Karanja Mbugua died while being treated at Nakuru War Memorial Hospital.

"Death has robbed Nakuru County another committed and hardworking ward representative. It is a sad day," Mr Kairu said.

The Speaker described Mbugua as a selfless, committed and active leader.

Friends and relatives of the ward representative told the Nation that he drove himself to hospital on Tuesday and was found to have liver and pancreas problems before developing breathing difficulties.

"He had sought treatment at a private hospital before going to Nakuru War Memorial," a source said.

The Jubilee politician died barely a week after his Hell's Gate colleague John Njuguna, alias Wa Sussy, passed on also due to coronavirus-related complications.

Mbugua's last public appearance was during Wa Sussy's funeral in Naivasha on Saturday.

There are reports of seven other representatives in Nakuru receiving treatment for coronavirus.

Some county assemblies have been temporarily shut after representatives and employees were confirmed to have the virus.

The Kirinyaga County Assembly suspended sessions on Thursday. The assembly will remain closed for two weeks.

According to Speaker Anthony Gathumbi, the assembly building will be fumigated during the two-eek period.

"The break will also allow members to self-isolate," he said.

Kilifi, Mombasa, Uasin Gishu and several other county assemblies have also been closed in the past few weeks.

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