Nov 20, 2020
Politicians, please give us a break! COVID-19 is real

By Winnie Osika

Days after President Uhuru Kenyatta banned public gatherings to restrict political rallies and contain the spread of Covid-19, a high court judge in Kenya has suspended the directive.

Justice Anthony Mrima issued the temporary orders halting a resolution to stop all political gatherings pending the determination of a suit filed by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK).

As quoted in a local daily, Justice Mrima suspended the government directive and ordered Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai not to enforce the government's directive on political gatherings.

"An order is hereby issued suspending the directive issued by the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) on October 7 and ratified by the Cabinet,” ruled Justice Mrima.

Going by the majority of Kenyans opinions, this was taken as a direct sneer on Kenya’s faces by the government. Majority are of the opinion that the law makers are the first law breakers.

“They are literally dancing on our graves. They simply do not care about us. Healthcare is a mess, and all they can think about is politics and pulling crowds.” Says a street hawker.

Recent events have shown that politicians are at the forefront of putting marginalized Kenyans at risk of getting Covid-19 through political rallies. Going by the pictures and video clips that are shown in the media, crowds attending these rallies do not wear masks. Social distancing is Greek to them.

There have been numerous explanations on how Covid-19 spreads. Going by the current positivity rate, it is very likely that six out of ten people in a crowd are Covid-19 positive. Public rallies are marked by shouting, cheers and jeers, all these actions are likely to cause droplets of aerosols that contain the virus to fly all over the place. Science has it that some of these droplets can stay suspended in the air for at least three hours. It is therefore highlighly possible that a large proportion of the people who attend a political rally are likely to go home infected.

But who is to blame? One may ask. It is clear that politicians are taking advantage of vulnerable Kenyans. Some argue that people walk in those rallies at will, that no one puts a gun in their head to attend the rallies. But current circumstances have left “Wanjiku” (the ordinary person in the street) with no option. Some of the reasons some people gave are truly surprising. One bluntly told me, “I attend them to pass time. I lost my job in March 2020, I have nothing else to do. Such rallies make us forget our problems, they entertain us.”

It is solely for this reason that politicians are taking advantage of vulnerable Kenyans. Covid-19 is a serious disease. Millions have succumbed to it around the world. In Kenya, over 1200 people have died as of 14th November 2020. The numbers are likely to increase going by current trends. Medical experts are even warning that the second wave could be more lethal than the first. Kenyans! Let us wake up. No politician is worth dying for! Observe social distance, (avoid crowds), always wear a mask while away from home and maintain hygiene.