Governors to defy Ministry of Health directive on political gatherings

Friday, July 24th, 2020 00:00 |
Council of governors chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya speaks during the State of the Devolution address that took place yesterday at his office in Nairobi. Photo/PD/JOHN OCHIENG

Anthony Mwangi and Irene Githinji

Governors will continue holding public gatherings in defiance of the directive by the Ministry of Health against them, their council chairman Wycliffe Oparanya declared yesterday.

He, however, said the county chiefs would strive to see that protocols set by health officials are maintained during the meetings.

“We will make sure that the guidelines are enforced fully during our meetings.

We understand the situation at hand and cannot expose our people to the dangers posed by the pandemic,” Oparanya, the Kakamega governor said.

Oparanya said governors were inspecting development meetings in their areas of jurisdiction, which have been misconstrued to be political rallies.

The Ministry of Health has since banned such gatherings since guidelines to cushion people from contacting the Covid-19 were not being maintained.

But a defiant Oparanya said yesterday the issue of Covid-19 cannot be used to stop leaders from launching and inspecting development projects since indications show that the pandemic is not ending any time soon and therefore people should learn to stay with it.

“From what we are seeing Covid-19 is not going anywhere and therefore it cannot be used as an excuse to bar leaders from participating in development matters,” Oparanya told the media after making his State of Devolution address at the Council headquarters.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has already barred CSs from traveling outside Nairobi after a surge in Covid-19 cases across the country.

A directive issued by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua said the CSs should not go out of Nairobi for the next one week.

“You are advised not to move out of Nairobi for the next one week until advised otherwise.

This directive takes effect from the date of this communication,” read the letter sent to specific CSs dated July 21 read.

The Kakamega governor spoke even as Amani National Congress  leader Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula called off their political activities in Western Kenya to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“In light of this grim scenario and broad consultations, we have suspended out outreach programme which involved scheduled meetings in the Western region,” said the two leaders after a meeting held in Nairobi yesterday.

Adding:  “It is in this spirit of containing the coronavirus disease spread that we are also challenge other leaders to put the lives of Kenyans first by emulating our stance.”

But even with suspending public engagements, the Mudavadi and Wetang’ula cited two major areas of concern affecting the people of Western Kenya.

 Firstly, the two said they want a clear stance on the status of debts on sugar industry.

They said the Government has constantly declared that debts for the sugar industry cancelled but no single document has been made available to confirm this.

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