Legislators must pay for reckless conduct on coronavirus

Thursday, April 9th, 2020 00:00 |
Parliament. Photo/File

Reports that a number of legislators could have tested positive for coronavirus are, to say the least, worrying.

There have been claims several legislators and other parliamentary staff, who travelled abroad, and others who had close contact with an infected colleague, had failed to self-quarantine as required.

And if it is proved that some of those who have tested positive for the deadly respiratory disease indeed failed to self-isolate as required of them, then it would not only be highly irresponsible but also criminal.

Such behaviour is in the same league as that of Kilifi deputy governor Gideon Saburi, who defied self-isolation requirement on returning from an overseas trip.

Saburi, who later tested positive, was arrested and arraigned on leaving hospital.

Hopefully, he will be made to pay for putting the lives of hundreds of people in danger because of his reckless conduct. 

The deputy governor’s and legislators’ behaviour is not surprising. Impunity has been the hallmark of the country’s political elite.

Clearly, even in a time when the country is facing a serious public health and socio-economic problem of unprecedented proportions, the political class does not feel compelled to change its conduct. 

With such leadership, even the most optimistic Kenyan will be forgiven for concluding that we shoulder an unfathomable curse.

To assuage the fears of Kenyans, especially ordinary wananchi, who by no design of their own, are always waiting at the doorstep of elected leaders for help, the government and the House leadership should compel all the legislators who been tested for the virus to declare their status.

Those who are positive and have not self-isolated should be quarantined and thereafter face the law like Saburi.

And most importantly, they should help trace all those who they came into contact with for testing and isolation.

Rather than being agents of coronavirus by behaving  dishonourably, elected leaders should be in the forefront in fighting to stop the spread of the disease, especially to the vulnerable population.

They should use their powers of persuasion and connections to impress upon the public the need to abide by the protocols that are aimed at stopping the spread of the disease. 

Since they are currently involved in little or no legislative business, the politicians should earn their keep by enlisting for what is, no doubt, the war of our lifetime.

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