During his weekend press briefing Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe expressed concern with the rising number of positive Covid-19 cases in the country that signaled a second wave of the virus. He particularly put young people on the spot for flouting the preventive regulations while they go about their entertainment. Indeed Kenyans have let their guard down a little in the recent weeks following a few directives by the government. The lifting of the ban on operation of bars and clubs has seen scores of revelers gather at entertainment joints to wind down their week. A significant number of Kenyans in every day activities have been spotted not donning masks and public vehicles have been alleged to carry more passengers than is required by authorities. However in condemning Kenyans’ behaviors in observing government regulations, Mr Kagwe left out a particular segment of people that have violated the regulations severally, politicians.
The caution he issued appeared to be a biased attack against the youth while the political class has been moving around the country for one reason or the other without observing the government directives. One would be forgiven for thinking that we were in an election year given the increased number of rallies and gatherings by elected leaders. If anything CS Kagwe would have been particular about state officials who attend rallies that attract crowds bigger than 300 people, the maximum number permitted in public gatherings as directed by the President in his last address.
Matthew 7:3 says,”Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” It therefore seems hypocritical for the government to heap blame on the youth for the surge in Covid-19 patients while a good section of state officials – whether elected or appointive – have been on countrywide tours campaigning for or against the BBI report that is to be handed over to President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
With the possibility of there being a second wave of infections, both national and county governments should instead shift focus and resource to enhancing the capacity of health facilities across the country. In fact with the phased school reopening, the Ministries of Education and Health should be appraising Kenyans on the status of school preparedness and monitoring the effectiveness of any measures put in place. Details of how schools are providing and distributing protective gear to students and teachers should be provided to parents and stakeholders to inform the steps needed to be taken to address any gaps that may emerge in the coming weeks.
Coordination at both county and national level should be enhanced for proper utilization of funds that were recently disbursed by the national government to all the 47 counties. Caution is a collective responsibility for both the government and citizens and its a responsibility that doesn’t discriminate based on social standing. So while the citizens have a hand in ensuring their safety, state officials should look inwards and lead by example before calling out the youth for flouting rules.
This post was initially uploaded on October 19th 2020.