With a third wave on, politicians will need to restrain themselves

  • 13 Mar 2021
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  • 〜 by Wanjiku Mwai

It has been an interesting week one year since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, with Tanzanian President John Pombe Maghufuli rumoured to have been hospitalized in Nairobi and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga confirmed positive.

At the end of the week, President Uhuru Kenyatta faced yet another dilemma: whether to heed the calls from industry for lifting of the curfew to enable economic recovery, or tighten measures to limit the spread of the third wave.

He chose a neutral stance, by keeping the curfew and closing time for bars but tightening restrictions on funerals and weddings and banning political gatherings.

“We tend to forget quickly,” President Kenyatta warned, and many Kenyans would agree.

This tendency to forget has been most evident amongst politicians, with the President, Mr Odinga, and Deputy President William Ruto having presided over perhaps the largest public gatherings in their political ventures.

The first two have been working to popularize the Building Bridges Initiative while the Deputy President has been on his own campaigns.

In their pleas to the President to lift the restrictions, various groups juxtaposed the blatant violations of previous bans on political gatherings against the zealousness with which police officers have been forcing them to shut.

With a third wave and the South African variant causing havoc, whether the newest attempt to stop the powerful and connected holding their meetings will work or be quickly forgotten remains an open question.