Names: 38 legislators on self-quarantine after meeting Rabai MP who tested positive for COVID-19

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 00:00 |
National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs committee chair William Cheptumo and vice-chair Alice Wahome during a past committee sitting. Photo/PD/Samuel Kariuki

By Anthony Mwangi and Hillary Mageka

At least 38 MPs and a number of Parliamentary Service Commission employees have been asked to self-isolate because they came in contact with Rabai MP Kamoti Mwamkale who has tested positive for coronavirus disease.

Yesterday, the Clerk of the National Assembly Michael Sialai, who last week submitted the MPs’ names to the Health ministry for testing, said they should be quarantined for 14 days.

“We asked all the Members, especially Members of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee and the Delegated Legislation Committee, who interacted with Hon Kamoti to go for self–isolation,” he said.

The MP is said to have attended meetings of the two committees. Sialai, however, said none of the MPs had shown any symptoms of Covid-19.

At the same time, MPs who attended the burial of Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori on March 9 have been asked to go for testing. 

The MPs are said to have come into close contact with Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi who is undergoing treatment for the disease.

Precautionary measure

As of yesterday, Kenya had 50 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and one death.

Some Members of Parliament were two weeks ago directed to go on self-quarantine after traveling to countries that had been affected by the pandemic.

Funyula MP Wilberforce Oudo, a Member of the Delegated Legislation committee, confirmed that he had been on self-quarantine as a precautionary measure following reports that one of their colleagues had tested positive.

“I have been on self-isolation since March 17, today marks the 14th day. I have not developed any symptoms of the coronavirus. I am well,” Oudo told People Daily on phone yesterday. 

He, however, said he did not attend the meeting which Kamoti is said to have been present but had decided to follow the Ministry of Health safety protocols. 

The two committees with a combined membership of 38, held a joint sitting on March 17 in the presence of Kamote, who is a member of the Justice and Legal Affairs team.

Social distancing

Makueni MP Dan Maanzo, who is a Member of the Delegated Legislation Committee, confirmed that he had been called by officials of the Ministry of Health who asked him to self-isolate.

“Fortunately I did not attend that particular meeting. I responded to all the questions concerning my health but told them I did not interact with Kamoti,” said Maanzo.

Another Member of the Delegated Legislation Committee, Waihenya Ndirangu (Roysambu) said he did not self-isolate because he did not attend the meeting in question.

Ndirangu said the situation could have been worse had Kamoti sat through the meeting.

“Luckily Kamoti came in late and found Members winding up. Again the Speaker had on the previous day cautioned Members to practice social distancing and so Members adhered to that,” he said.

Support staff assigned to the two committees have also undergone tests and 14 days quarantine.

Baringo North MP William Cheptumo chairs the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee while Uasin Gishu Woman Rep Gladys Shollei leads the Delegated Legislation one.

It is believed Kamoti, who is the first lawmaker to test positive, contracted the disease after interacting with Kilifi Deputy Governor Saburi.

Facing charges

Saburi also interacted with Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi who has tested negative but opted for the 14-day self-quarantine.

The Deputy Governor is among those who will be charged for ignoring a government directive of 14 days self-quarantine upon arrival from a country that has cases of coronavirus. Saburi had returned from Germany.

Yesterday, a PSC commissioner who did not want to be named, said the MPs who will be tested are those who interacted with the Rabai MP during a joint sitting of the two committees.

“As a matter of caution, we have advised the ministry and other government agencies, to trace and subject the persons the Rabai MP interacted with on the March 17 to a test,” the official told People Daily.

“We have also advised all those who attended the burial of Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori to also be tested,” he added.

Among legislators who attended Dori’s burial are Senators Mohammed Faki (Mombasa), Issa Juma Boy (Kwale), MPs Ali Mbogo (Kisauni), Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Benjamin Tayari (Kinango) and Kassim Tandaza (Matuga). 

Others are National Assembly Leader of Minority John Mbadi and ODM secretary General Edwin Sifuna.

Mbadi said although he attended Dori’s burial, he had not been asked to self-isolate.

“It is now 21 days and none of the Members who attended has been asked to self-isolate. I am OK unless you are telling those who interacted with Kamoti to be isolated forever,” said Mbadi on phone.

Kamoti tested positive for coronavirus at Premier Hospital, in Nyali Mombasa where he had been forced to quarantine after coming into contact with Saburi who is at Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi.

Other than the Members of the two committees, the ministry is also tracing other MPs who may have interacted with Kamoti.

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