CORONAVIRUS

Ban political gatherings to reduce Covid-19 risk

In Summary

• Recent rallies in western Kenya have exceeded 100 people and have not followed proper safety precautions
• President Kenyatta has ordered government leaders to stay in Nairobi and not to travel upcountry

Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale leaves Hamisi MP Charles Gimose’s home in Vihiga county on July 18, 2020, after police lobbed teargas canisters to disperse people who had gathered to condole with the lawmaker following the death of his mother.
Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale leaves Hamisi MP Charles Gimose’s home in Vihiga county on July 18, 2020, after police lobbed teargas canisters to disperse people who had gathered to condole with the lawmaker following the death of his mother.
Image: COURTESY

Musalia Mudavadi wants the government to ban all political gatherings because of the risk of Covid infection (see P6).

The ANC leader said that political leaders including Cabinet Secretaries have been engaging in political meetings without observing precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Recent gatherings in western Kenya have often exceeded 100 people who have not been social distancing, wearing masks, and sanitising. 

Mudavadi is absolutely right. Political rallies are potential super-spreader events yet they are not even necessary – the next election is still not for another two years. We do not need to be campaigning now.

Some efforts are already being made to limit the political risk factor for spreading Covid.

This week, President Kenyatta ordered Cabinet secretaries and officials not to travel outside of Nairobi.

And the police are getting tougher on infringements by politicians. On Tuesday they arrested Kasipul MP Charles Ong'ondo Were for holding a political meeting without following Covid rules. And on Saturday morning Senator Johnson Sakaja was arrested in a Kilimani bar.

But this is still not enough. The Interior ministry should ban all political gatherings for the next six months, as Mudavadi suggests.

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