President Uhuru wants Kilifi DG handed 10 years in jail

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 00:00 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta and journalist Karanja wa Kamau of Coro FM in a ‘footshake’ at State House, Nairobi, yesterday after a radio interview with three vernacular stations. Photo/PSCU

Eric Wainaina @EWainaina

The government does not intend to impose a total lockdown as part of the measures to halt the spread of the deadly coronavirus, because the move will subject Kenyans to economic suffering.

However, President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday said locking down the entire nation remains a card on the table should Kenyans continue defying the already set behavioural protocols.

“Lockdown has to be an option for us and that is why I am pleading with Kenyans with a lot of humility, let us observe the behavioural protocols imposed by government so that we are able to continue with our daily businesses because if we do a lockdown, which I don’t want to do, people will suffer more.

But if we don’t follow that, we have no other option but to tell people not to leave their homes because we must protect lives,” the President said.

Uhuru further pleaded with the courts to jail Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi for 10 years for recklessly infecting people with the flu that has continued to spread.

Infect people

“You come from Germany, you go through Nairobi while spreading the ailment to Kenyans, you go to Mombasa, you infect people, you go  Kilifi infecting people because you are a high profile person.

That is why I said, when he recovers, he should be arrested and for him to be an example to others. And I am pleading with the courts to jail him for 10 years because of the people he has infected,” Uhuru said.

Speaking during an interview with vernacular radio stations only a day after he sealed off Nairobi’s metropolitan region, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale Uhuru said he is avoiding a lockdown because most people depend on daily earnings.

The government has been complaining that some Kenyans have refused to obey the measures issued  on grounds that the restrictions were akin to denying them sources of income, especially after the President imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

 When he imposed the curfew two weeks ago in wake of rising Corona cases, Uhuru warned that he would not hesitate to impose more extreme measures if the ones put in place would prove inadequate.

 He acknowledged that the measures already put in place had subjected Kenyans to adverse economic effects because some businesses have been forced to shut and send their workers home, and a lockdown would only worsen the situation.

 “My prayer to Kenyans is that let us eke our living because we must feed our families.

But even as we do so, let us be careful to ensure you observe the behavioural protocols by the government because that is the only way to deal with the virus,” Uhuru said. 

He added: “We do not want to get to a point whereby we shall say what some other countries are saying that people should not leave their homes, because if we do so, what will those people and their children eat?.”

An opinion poll by Infrotrak released on Sunday, showed that an estimated 68 per cent of Kenyans want the government to impose a total lockdown as the most assured way to tame the virus. 

The poll was conducted between March 30 and April 2, where a sample of 831 respondents from 24 out of 47 counties in the country were interviewed.

Uhuru has also ruled out requests by some church leaders that they be allowed to conduct services with few worshippers, saying the consequences of such actions could be dire and pleaded with preachers to allow the pandemic to end.

 The spread of the infection from country to country, Uhuru said, led to the government banning all international flights to avert the penetration and with the disease being already in some counties, the government is averting a national outbreak.

“We don’t want to get to a point where we are hearing that the disease has spread in other counties like Nyandarua and Nyeri   to ensure that the people in the sealed areas are protected from the spread. We must obey the measures we are giving,” he said.

Curb spread

Uhuru asked Kenyans to co-operate with his government to curb the spread of the virus, warning that failure to do so will plunge the nation in deep problems like it has done to United States of America and Italy where hundreds are dying daily.

“There is no nation across the world, including the powerful ones, that is not crying foul that they do not have adequate equipment to treat the people who are sick.

And that is why I am asking Kenyans if even the powerful nations are crying, just imagine what would happen if that ailment was to hit us hard like it has hit those nations; what can we do? Do we have the capacity? he asked.

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