On Monday, July 6, 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta finally told Kenyans “what they wanted to hear.”
The President opened up the borders by lifting cessation of movements in and out of the counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, and Mandera, officially allowing people to travel and move at will.
Kenyans are celebrating the move. Since the President started with what Kenyans wanted to hear, most of them switched off as soon as he made the announcement.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s speech, just like other speeches before, lacked the impact to the real issues at hand and only moved to cover the fire with the hope that smoke will not be seen on the surface.
What Kenyans don’t know, as they celebrate, is that the President, in this case, the government has officially handed to Covid-19.
During the speech, the Head of State told Kenyans to travel as much as they want but if they contract the virus or take it to their relatives in the village, it will up to them, not the government.
According to the President, the government only has a responsibility to “inform” you about the pandemic but the burden of taking care of yourself lies with Kenyans. (Some truth there).
In other words, what President Uhuru Kenyatta was saying is that Kenyans are on their own and it is up to their immune systems to decide who gets Covid-19 and who doesn’t.
During the much-anticipated speech, Uhuru Kenyatta did not mention any plan that the government was putting in place to ensure that cases do not surge as a result of him “opening up the borders.”
110 plus days later, and all Kenyans know is the daily updates by CS for Health Mr. Mutahi Kagwe and his choir members. They are like news reporters, waiting for people to get infected then report to us.
When Covid-19 was just coming to Kenya, during the month of March, the government, through the Ministry of Health, repeatedly assured Kenyans that it was able and capable to handle the virus.
The same Ministry of Health bragged, not once but on several occasions, on how it was able and capable to carry out more than 10,000 tests on a daily basis. 110 plus later, and the tests are still 200,000.
As the country continues to receive the heat from the sweeping pandemic, the government has remained generally clueless on the best way to fight the pandemic and help the vulnerable communities.
President Uhuru Kenyatta was asked to “open up the economy” but ended up “opening the roads.” How is “opening the road” going to give those who have lost their jobs back? How is “opening up the roads” going to help those evicted from their houses pay their rent?
The only breather for opening up the roads to help those who have a rural home, and whose lives have become unbearable in the big city to catch the next bus and go “home”.
If the “experts” surrounding President Uhuru Kenyatta were any use to the country, they would have advised him to order an increase in mass testing. He would also have ordered Kenyans who want to travel out of the hotspot areas to secure a Covid-19 “clearance certificate.”
The President also said that he was ready to support the youth in their businesses provided they changed their business mindset. How and when is the president going to know that the youth have changed their “business mindset” so that he can “help them”? Does he want them to come up with proposals and present them at State House?
The government had set aside more than 50 billion shillings under the economic stimulus program. The support for small businesses was allocated at least 3 billion shillings. How many have received the cash? What criteria are they using to allocate the funds?
Dear Kenyans, as you celebrate, first interrogate the speech. You will realize that you are on your own. Take good care of your health or you will die.
The speech of President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday, July 6, 2020, lacked what Kenyans needed. In the words of Raila Odinga, it was “kama kunyamba kwa punda”.