As the coronavirus cases in the country escalate, so has the ministry and the national government been adjusting on what measures to apply to contain the pandemic and at the heart of all this has been the now popular Health CS, Mutahi Kagwe especially on Kenya’s trending topics.
The man now known for what initially started as the coronavirus daily briefings has been on both ends of love and hate by Kenyans especially those on Twitter. His entry into the ministry was seen as a breath of fresh air- one because he was not one of the many old faces that Kenyans are used to seeing on television and secondly because of his no-nonsense approach to the situation.
As time would have it, the minister’s popularity and likeability seemingly started petering out due to what some referred to as –angry speeches that were in most cases labelled as ‘lectures’ to innocent Kenyans who believed that they had no control over the spread of the disease. At this particular time, the CS kept pointing out negligence and ignorance as one of the leading factors onto why the country’s population was at risk.
Being in the good books of Kenyans for him has been a rollercoaster. Just recently he came under fire it was reported that funds meant to combat the covid-19 crisis had been embezzled under his watch.
With local dailies reporting loss and misappropriation of huge amounts of money to the tune of billions, CS Kagwe exonerated himself and sternly stated that he is keen on eliminating the cartels in the health ministry. By the virtue of him saying that Afya House-the ministry’s headquarters had “its own share of criminals” –who were out to steal Kenyans’ funds-Kenyans regained a liking for him.
This wouldn’t last long even as the cessation of movement was imposed then lifted or even with the sale of alcohol being restricted and subsequently banned in restaurants and other eatery joints.
A new phase of the love-hate relationship with Kenyans has seen them now suddenly praising him for the good work they think he has done since assumption of office-perhaps the same Kenyans ‘forgiving’ him for previous misdeeds.
A section attributed the successful launch of the “Kazi mtaani”- a program that provides jobs to young people- to the CS and went on to state that he cares for the youth who had been rendered jobless due to the current pandemic.
The usual hilarious sentiments that he makes after his official briefing and speeches-also have Kenyans affectionately taking about him. For instance, in response to the complaints on the ban of alcohol sale for the next 30 days, he defended that by saying “everything has a silver lining”, and that people who have bloodshot eyes due to alcohol consumption can now get better.
Among other things that netizens took to Twitter to make a good mention of the one-time parliamentarian- is his perceived efforts to deliver PPE kits to ensure front line health workers stay protected-perhaps an aspect that has erased the anger Kenyans once after he transferred two senior officials at the Health Ministry’s topmost agency-KEMRI for what was seen as unnecessary at a time of coronavirus war.
The trending hashtag #CSKagwecares had some Kenyans call him the “hero of our time” attributing his now good performance and “his willingness to keep Kenyans informed especially on the measures and efforts for protection equally put into place”.
As has been witnessed most government officials, Kenyans on twitter are sure met out fire or wind only one is never sure when the love or hate pendulum will swing.