Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi has said he is ready to work with Deputy President Wiliam Ruto on condition he endorses him for the presidency.
Speaking in Lugari, Kakamega County yesterday, Mudavadi said he was not going to play second fiddle to anyone in the race to State House.
“I am at liberty to work with anyone who has the same aspirations as ours, including the deputy president and other leaders. We are tired of being told that we are working for William Ruto. Let me say that we welcome Dr Ruto as long as he supports our bid for the presidency,” said Mudavadi.
The ANC boss has lashed out at leaders he claimed were out to create rifts between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Mudavadi claimed some of the leaders have been using the police to disrupt meetings organized by ANC and Ford Kenya leaders in Western “but when put to task, they are quick to invoke the name of President Kenyatta,” said Mudavadi.
He denied claims that his meetings are meant to undermine the president.
Lugari MP Ayub Savula and his Lurambi counterpart Titus Khamala said they fully support President Kenyatta’s development agenda. “We ask the president to stop listening to the propaganda being perpetrated by Mudavadi’s critics,” urged Khamala.
Mudavadi argued that such impunity could reduce the democratic space Kenyans have enjoyed in the past. “I will not allow that to happen, we must protect people’s democratic rights.”
He spoke during a Western leaders consultative meeting where he said nothing would stop him from going for the top seat.
The country was yesterday staring at a health disaster after it suffered a record 12 Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours amid reports that the mass testing for the virus was facing serious challenges.
Announcing the new fatalities during the daily press briefing, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe warned that the pandemic was spreading fast and furious across the country.
He said the 12 died in Nairobi, with three of them being community deaths which he blamed on failure to adhere to the containment measures put in place by the government.
“I am very saddened to inform you of the highest number of deaths in a single day since this pandemic struck.
In the past few days, we have observed an upsurge in the number of positive cases; this scenario is likely to continue,” he warned.
The new deaths brought the total number of those who have succumbed to the pandemic since it was first detected in Kenya on March 12 to 197.
Kagwe also revealed a total of 22 nurses at Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi had tested positive for the virus.
“The situation at Pumwani is under control. Surveillance team has isolated everyone.
We are also prioritizing the safety of children and infants but at the moment, the closure of the facility has not been considered,” he said.
Kagwe refuted claims that the nurses were exposed due to lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), saying the government has more than enough.
The crisis in the health sector unravelled as the country’s first doctor to die of coronavirus, Dr Doreen Adisa Lugaliki, was laid to rest yesterday at Ndalu village, Tongaren sub-county in Bungoma County in a brief and sombre ceremony conducted in strict adherence to the Covid-19 measures relating to the burial of victims.
And as the number of deaths and infections continued to soar, investigations by People Daily revealed that the mass testing campaign was facing serious hitches occasioned by the influx of people seeking to be tested to obtain clearance certificates to resume their jobs following the partial re-opening of the economy.
The crisis was compounded by the move by the various institutions tasked with the running of Covid-19 tests to suspend collection of samples from Kenyans and the huge fees charged by most private and public hospitals and laboratories charged with conducting the tests, which range between Sh5,000 and Sh13,000.
Yesterday, the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) expressed fears that the decision taken by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) and the Mbagathi Infectious Diseases Unit to suspend Covid-19 sample collection would plunge the health sector into a crisis.
Targeted mass testing that had been launched in Covid-19 hotspots including the Old Town in Mombasa and Kawangware and Eastleigh in Nairobi, has since stopped.
However, while responding to the increased demand by people seeking testing, Public Health Director Dr Francis Kuria said the government is no longer focused on mass testing but was keen on targeted tests through surveillance teams and other samples coming from government-based facilities across the country.
“We are emphasising on individual responsibility as we try to focus on targeted testing,” he said yesterday.
On his part, Kenya National Hospital (KNH) chief executive officer, Dr Evanson Kamuri, said the hospital has not stopped running Covid-19 samples but was discouraging the influx of many people seeking to be tested because the crowding at the hospital posed infection risk due to breached social distancing protocols.
“We are only testing people who are exhibiting symptoms and not everyone who comes to the hospital seeking to be tested,” he said, adding that focus was now on people who work in the hotel industry.
On Sunday, Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna downplayed the suspension of sample collections by Kemri and Mbagathi, saying the government could not test all the 47 million Kenyans for free.
“We cannot have all Kenyans being tested for Covid-19 at these two institutions yet we have other testing sites that are open to people seeking such services.
We have testing sites at both KNH and Mbagathi main hospitals where Kenyans can go.
Mama Lucy Hospital is also being prepared to offer those services,” he said while admitting that the government was overwhelmed by the large numbers of Kenyans turning up for testing.
And as the crisis unfolded, Kenyans took to social media to vent their frustrations about the exorbitant cost of testing for the disease.
One Karanja wa Mwangi summed up the frustrations, accusing the government of cooking up figures of people being tested for the virus.
Yesterday, Kagwe maintained the government was not charging any money for coronavirus testing.
“We are carrying out targeted mass testing with no charges but Kenyans must be informed that we are not testing everybody, we are not going to the streets and testing around, we are doing it for a reason because it is a very expensive affair,” said Kagwe.
He cautioned private hospitals and laboratories conducting Covid-19 tests not to charge exorbitantly, terming the Sh5,000 too high.
With the infection rates soaring following the lifting of the cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera counties, Kagwe said the government has advanced from phone contact tracing to a web-based application.
A future with hope, a future of prosperity and a future of significance can only be built by a deep sense of purpose and will-power for the country that will catapult it to the next level. It begins with the restructuring and resetting of the mind where we assess our successes and shortfalls as Kenyan citizens and as a country in order to refocus and restrategize our goals and objectives as a nation. Creating a vision that is beyond our generation and forging a nation premised on stability, development and civic responsibility.
Kenya as a nation has grown in great strides and made major achievements on the springboard of development under President Uhuru Kenyatta. Development that first started out as a an imagination, a thought on what seemed impossible to be possible. The country’s Standard Gauge Railway, SGR one undertaking that started out of a though and it became a goal before it was put into paper and finally implemented in the physical. Ten years ago, It would sound too ambitious for Kenyans to believe that they would be enjoying a safe and efficient rail transport with an approximately 6hour difference behtween Mombasa and Nairobi.
Again, home ownership in the city had appeared to be a daunting task. It was unthinkable to believe that Kenyans would become home owners in the heart of the city. Nevertheless, Kenya through the Big Four Agenda has opened up the minds of many as it has created opportunities for further innovation and invention out of the opportunities that have arose out of the projects. Recently President Uhuru Kenyatta urged Kenyans and especially the youth to ‘exploit the opportunities and evade the danger. The Big Four Agenda was first an imagination that started over in the mind before it was implemented. The construction of the Konza Technology City is also another project that is still under implementation with potential for greater growth and innovation.
As the country anticipates for more and more, there is a lot to learn and tap into with an imaginative mind in order to create possibilities. Currently, it is unthinkable to picture rail service within the city’s Central Business District, CBD. To have a railway that would allow for intergration of the BRT and other public transport among others. But the reality is that this a Sh28 billion project whose plans are already underway and it all started with a reimagination of a better Kenya where our founding fathers would be delight with only if they knew how far the country has progressed.
However, this is not enough as we need to think bigger and better. We need to reinvent and innovate as has been demonstrated when the epidemic struck the country. It is evident that as citizens we have the capability and capacity to grow and think beyond our wildest dreams for the nation we want to live in and create for our future generations that starts from our children. Remember the world is changing abd we must adapt to its changes. The good thing is even children are reimagining and remodeling what is at hand and making it better for themselves.
In similar light, in order to be true to self, we must recognize our shortfalls as a country from the different levels including as as individuals, as leaders, as communities and as a people who want the best for each other. We must look at ourselves in retrospect and ask ourselves the tough questions and why they are seemingly tough to us. Is it corruption? Is it tribalism or even nepotism? Is it the leadership at different levels?; or our irresponsibility as citizens? The point being that we all have an obligation and a role to play as Kenyan citizens. We are all meant to forge a future by tapping into the opportunities available and having foresight with the current trends that are emerging in the country and in the world. Foresight that began with our founding fathers who used their imagination and saw the possibilities of freedom and a land of their own.
Hardliners allied to Deputy President William Ruto were yesterday dealt the final blow after they were removed from key departmental committees and taken to less prestigious ones.
But the former Leader of Majority Aden Duale was lucky after he was placed in the powerful Public Accounts Committee.
Ruto allies Kimani Ichungw’a, Moses Kuria, Gladys Shollei and Benjamin Washiali were replaced in the reconstituted list compiled yesterday by new Leader of Majority Amos Kimunya and Leader of Minority John Mbadi.
In the revised list the parties agreed to have ODM lead two committees. Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga will head the Finance Committee while her Busia counterpart Florence Mutua will chair the Education one.
Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo will be the vice-chairman of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee.
Kieni MP Kanini Kega who has been instrumental in the process of removing Ruto allies, will chair the powerful Budget Committee.
In the new list to be tabled tomorrow during a Special Sitting, Ichungw’a has been placed in the Members’ Welfare Committee, Kuria in Implementation, Washiali(Broadcasting) and Shollei (Rules and Procedures).
Bomet Women Rep Joyce Korir and Nixon Korir (Langa’ta) will sit in the Members Service Committee while Lugari MP Ayub Savula (ANC), an ally of Musalia Mudavadi was moved from the influential Transport Committee to Trade.
Ready to serve
But two of Ruto’s allies, David Pkosing and William Kisang were retained as chairmen of the Transport and ICT committees respectively following what sources said was influenced by the CS serving in the same dockets.
The two have good working relationships with CSs James Macharia (Transport) and Joe Mucheru (ICT).
Yesterday Duale said he was ready to serve in any committee in fulfillment of his role as a member of Parliament.
“I am not aware of the changes but my position is that I am ready to serve in fulfillment of my duties to oversight, represent and legislate functions given to me by the Constitution as a member of Parliament,” Duale told People Daily.
But Ichung’wa did not have kind words with the House leadership, saying he was not interested in any position.
“I am not interested in any position and am not even aware that they have placed me in a committee,” said Ichungw’a.
The world feels wearied and yet the Covid-19 pandemic is just warming up.
Across the world, the coronavirus is flaring up. It took nearly 100 days for global Covid-19 positive cases to reach a million. The last million new cases came in the last week.
While we are done with lockdown and eager to get the economy and our lives going again, the coronavirus is yet to do its worst. The World Health Organization confirmed a record increase in global coronavirus cases rising by 230,000 in 24 hours on July 12th 2020.
In the US, Covid-19 cases have surged in the sunbelt states of Arizona, California, Texas and Florid. New hotspots have emerged in Britain, Germany and Australia. South Africa, which instituted some of the toughest lockdown measures is now among the top 10 countries, which account for about 67 per cent of Covid-19 infections globally.
Kenya’s Covid-19 cases have increased by about 206 per cent in just one month. President Uhuru Kenyatta eased lockdown measures when Covid-19 cases were on the rise and testing rates measured per million people remain very low compared to countries such as Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa.
Contact tracing and isolation are far from effective. Moreover, at about 29 per cent, recovery rates in Kenya are the lowest compared to 48 and 51 per cent in South Africa and Rwanda respectively.
The decision to ease down lockdown was not easy to make. It was always going to be fraught with peril. And President Kenyatta was very clear: The economy is reeling from lockdown and the health system is being pushed to breaking point. Kenyans are eager to get on with their lives and therein lies the peril. A rapid surge in Covid-19 infections is imminent. It is very likely that we will see new Covid-19 clusters emerge in rural Kenya as people travel from the urban epicentres, especially Nairobi and Mombasa.
Without a cure or a vaccine, containment depends on following prevention guidelines and accepting that we all must change our behaviour. Granted, it has been four months since the first case was identified in Kenya. Many people are becoming cynical and disillusioned. The exigencies of getting on with life — socialising and earning an income — seems to trump the imperative to take every measure to avoid contracting Covid-19. Young people trapped by months of lockdown have somehow developed an “I don’t care” attitude and will do anything to revel.
How fast Covid-19 infections rise depends on how we all behave. The coronavirus is transmitted from person to person, especially in crowded places. Wearing mask is about protecting others. The youth, fit and without symptoms have a duty to protect the old and those with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Lockdowns are blunt instruments, which inflict widespread economic pain. But they are effective at slowing down the spread of Covid-19.
As positive cases surge, President Kenyatta should re-introduce lockdown measures – close bars, restrict travel and longer curfew hours.