NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 21 – A demonstration over the alleged mismanagement of COVID-19 supplies and flawed procurement processes was quelled by anti-riot police in Nairobi after the police said the protest was unauthorized.
Activists led by Haki Africa’s Hussein Khalid and rights crusader Wanjeri Nderi were teargassed as anti-riot police stopped them from proceeding to the Central Business District.
“We do not need a permission to assemble or even protests against continued stealing of our money. We already notified the police of our intended march, but they declined to receive our notification letter, is that our problem?” Nderu posed during an interview with Capital FM News
Another group at the Jeevanjee Garden was also dispersed.
The protests follow an exposé on flawed procurement and embezzlement of donations to support Kenya’s efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19.
“We are calling for immediate arrest and prosecution of all those involved in stealing from the sick,” an agitated Nderu asserted.
The report aired on NTV suggested Kenyans might have lost a whooping Sh44 billion through irregular procurement of materials by the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA).
The group had donned white t-shirts with messages calling for the #ArrestCOVID19Thieves.
Already, authorities have launched investigations in the alleged scandal, that have seen three KEMSA officials suspended.
Those suspended include the agency’s Chief Executive Officer Jonah Manjari, Eliud Muriithi (Commercial Director) and Charles Juma (Procurement Director).
The multi-agency probe is being led by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
KEMSA Board Chairperson Kembi Gitura said the senior officials will remain suspended until the ongoing investigation in concluded.
The board appointed Edward Njoroge Njuguna as the acting CEO while Edward Buluma and George Walukana will assume the roles of procurement and commercial directors respectively.
Gitura said KEMSA will cooperate with the EACC to ensure the probe is concluded in a timely manner.
“We want to assure Kenyans and our development partners that the Kemsa Board of Directors pledges unequivocal support to the ongoing investigations by EACC. We are not going to protect anybody who is found to be culpable and any such persons shall face the consequences,” he said on August 14 in a statement sent to newsrooms.