The Warsan

Uhuru: Why I sealed off Nairobi on short notice

President Uhuru Kenyatts


07th Apr 2020 11:30:38 GMT +0300

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s slamming of a don’t-enter-or-leave Nairobi and its metropolitan areas order on Monday ahead of the Easter holidays was meant to protect Kenyans especially the elderly living in rural areas from being infected with the coronavirus by relatives trooping in from the city during the Easter holiday. Probably anticipating questions that would follow, the president (above) explained: “We know that majority of our old people live in rural areas and according to studies, this disease affects the old people more than the young hence we have to protect our grandparents from this disease and the only way out is to stop movement this festive season,” Uhuru explained. He noted that with the trends observed in other countries especially in Europe and more specifically Italy where the majority of the deaths have been recorded were those of elderly people.

“There is a need for the country to take measures aimed at protecting senior citizens.” Uhuru highlighted regular washing of hands with soap, wearing of masks and social distancing as some of the key protocols that Kenyans need to follow strictly in order to limit the spread of the respiratory illness. “This disease is an unseen enemy and one cannot tell who has it or not, therefore it is for our own good that we change our lifestyle. We have to avoid shaking hands and social gatherings,” the President said.

On whether a total lockdown was an option, Uhuru said it is the last option on the table noting that if all Kenyans follow the guidelines and measures put in place so far, then the country would not need to go that route. “We understand our people better. We know that a majority of Kenyans depend on daily activities to earn their livelihoods therefore we don’t need to lockdown the country as long as we can strictly adhere to the measures already in place.”

The Head of State said he had held meetings with all stakeholders to ensure that the country minimizes on job losses and cushions the most vulnerable in the society in the period of the current coronavirus pandemic. Uhuru directed the National Treasury to utilize the Sh2 billion recovered from corruption to scale up interventions against the pandemic and to support the most vulnerable members of society, especially in urban areas. The President said an additional Sh10 billion had been set aside to assist the elderly, orphans and other vulnerable populations through cash-transfers by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, to cushion them from the adverse economic effects of the pandemic. Uhuru commended property owners who have come out to support measures taken by the Government by waiving and/or reducing monthly rent to lessen the cost burden on Kenyans during this difficult period. “I highly appreciate what some of our property owners are doing. Indeed, we need to work and understand each other. If someone has for years been your tenant and has never failed to pay rent it’s only logical that you reciprocate at this difficult time,” he said.

He reiterated his directive to the newly formed Nairobi Metropolitan Service, to not only continue providing water services to all but expand the same to all informal settlements. “This pandemic requires us to stick to the highest hygiene standards hence, I have asked the Nairobi Metropolitan service to ensure all Nairobi residents access clean water. They should stop water vendors from selling this commodity.” “I have also requested Kenya Power not to disconnect power for those who are unable to pay the bills but rather understand the situation that we are in,” the President said. He insisted the measures taken by the Government are in no way intended to oppress Kenyans but rather protect them from coronavirus.

He called on Kenyans to strictly adhere to protocols set out by the Ministry of Health so as to stem the spread of coronavirus in the country.

He said measures so far taken by the Government are aimed at ensuring citizens continue with their daily lives in the wake of the fast-spreading infectious disease. “You are the doctor of your life. Please adhere to the protocols set out by the Ministry of Health to protect yourself and your loved ones. Prevention is better than cure,” the President said when he spoke during a live radio interview with three local FM radio stations-Kameme, Inooro and Coro. On the measures taken yesterday by the Government stopping the movement of people into and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area, the President said it was necessary to do so in order to curb the spread of the virus to the rest of the country.

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