NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 12 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has banned all forms of political gatherings in the country for a period of 30 days effective midnight on Friday as part of the measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.
While acknowledging recent heightened political activities in the country have greatly influenced the increased cases of infections, the Head of State said he will not relent to prohibit such gatherings.
With the enforcement aspect of the directive proving to be difficult, the Head of State during an address to the nation on Friday consequently asked national government administration officers to act swiftly and apprehend those found violating the ban regardless of their social status.
“And this stuff about political gatherings from today we said they have been halted for 30 days. And that applies to me as President to the MCA down at the grassroots. We have issued this as an order that whoever dares to break this directive will, will be dealt with in accordance with the laws of our country of Kenya, irrelevant of his or her social, economic or political status,” the President warned.
The Building Bridges Initiative campaigns and the 2022 succession politics have been cited as triggers for the spike of the virus in the country that has seen the country record 111,935 cases in a year.
Governors had on Thursday asked President Kenyatta to use his Friday address to ban political events for a month. They said such gatherings and meetings have become COVID-19 super-spreaders.
Council of Governors Chairperson Martin Wambora, who spoke after an extraordinary meeting of the Council, said governors were alarmed by heightened political activity, ‘which if left unchecked, could burden the already struggling health care system’.
The President’s pronouncements came as his Deputy President William Ruto, opposition leaders Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula began whirlwind campaign tours in Western and Eastern Kenya.
Ruto kicked off his tour of Busia county by presiding over the empowerment of more than 6,000 Boda Boda operators from Budalang’i Constituency.
Kalonzo, Mudavadi and Wetangula stormed Machakos County where they kicked off a 4-day homestretch campaign blitz ahead March 18 Senatorial by-elections.
The trio who are part of the Sacred Alliance political formation and a host of Senators and MPs including the newly elected in Matungu and Kabuchai were due to address rallies in Tala, Katangi, Kithimani with the main rally at Matuu town.
On Saturday, Kalonzo was scheduled to lead his Wiper team in Donyo Sabuk, Matuu ma Mwiitu, Kangundo and Mitamboni.