NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 13 – Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has defended Members of Parliament against accusations that they have done little to support the government in the war against coronavirus.
Kagwe said contrary to media reports, MPs were actively involved in providing their input and thoughts on how to prevent the spread of the virus that had infected 208 people in the country by Monday.
Nine people have since succumbed to the disease while 40 others have been discharged from hospital after recovering.
“We have had engagements, with the leadership of both the National Assembly and the Senate and the respective House committees and these engagements have contributed to the overall response and intervention measures,” he said in an apparent reference to Monday’s Standard Newspaper headline ‘The traitors.’
He noted that the Ministry of Health as late as last week had met with the respective Health Committees of both Houses handling the virus situation in the country.
“Parliament has been active in the work that we are doing and they have contributed to the work that is currently going on,” he said.
The legislators have been on the receiving end lately after their input on the virus went unnoticed by members of the public who questioned their role.
Members of the National Assembly were due to hold a special sitting last week but it aborted after President Uhuru Kenyatta declared a cessation of movement to and from Nairobi, Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa counties which have the highest cases of coronavirus.
Members of the National Assembly are now scheduled to hold a sitting on Tuesday to fast track the legislation of the proposals whereas, in the Senate, the seven-member Ad Hoc Committee on the virus chaired by Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja is expected to table its report detailing some of the mitigation measures that can be adopted during this period.
Already, Speakers Justin Muturi (National Assembly) and Ken Lusaka (Senate) have offered to take a 30 percent pay cut until June to help the government mobilise resources to fight the virus.
The Senate in the meantime parted with Sh200 million, monies which were diverted from the foreign travel kitty.