(Ford Kenya politicians)
By Christabel Chilande
As politics begins to resurface amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, Kenyan politicians have gone back to their familiar ways. The large crowds that often accompanied politicians were banned after the government put in place restrictions on social gatherings. The ban which was to limit the number of people to 15 or less at a time put a huge strain on social, corporate, and political events. The government on its side had put in place measures to ensure social distancing during the parliamentary meetings and press conferences.
With the increasing tensions between top political parties in the country like Jubilee, ODM, and Ford Kenya many politicians have been switching sides and making new allies. All to position themselves for the upcoming general elections despite the country fighting a global pandemic. Recent changes in the cabinet and political party positions have caused more politicians to leave their homes to come up with their next strategies. On 29th May COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli hosted 40 politicians in his home in Kajiado. Most of the politicians landed in helicopters suggesting they came from outside of the county. All this while moving in and out of Nairobi had been restricted until June 6th to reduce the spread of Covid-19 to other counties. The COTU Secretary General and his fellow politicians held their meeting under a tent where social distancing must have been difficult to observe. During a press briefing after the meeting, they stood close together with little regard for the 1.5m distance rule. Most were seen wearing face masks.
Other politicians have been found in gatherings with large numbers putting their supporters at risk of contracting the virus. The number of political party meetings has been on the rise around Nairobi as many leaders try to preserve their positions of power in government. On 31st May FORD-Kenya members came together to vote out their party leader Moses Wetangula due to what they considered was gross misconduct on his part. The number of members was higher than the one required to reduce the chances of infection.
The police are however very strict with Kenyans unlike the politicians found not following the directives. Numerous reports have been made of the police beating and killing people who they find outside past curfew while the politicians are escorted by the same police officers. Kenya’s politicians should be doing a better job of preventing the spread of the virus despite their political ambitions.