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How Uhuru, Kagwe have been preaching water but drinking wine

Barely two weeks after an angry President Uhuru Kenyatta called out the political class for breaking Covid-19 rules, he was photographed on Monday addressing crowds in some of Nairobi’s informal settlements.

He had just commissioned the construction of level three hospitals in the city.

The President’s action coupled with Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe’s breach in Kericho, where he addressed a crowd that was not social distancing, paint a picture of a government speaking from both ends of the mouth and expecting its citizens to comply with the Covid-19 measures.

Since the first case was confirmed on March 13, the government has banked on social distancing as one of the most effective ways of arresting the spread of coronavirus, piling pressure on Kenyans to avoid crowding.

“…These are not normal times. Countries whose citizens have taken a careless or relaxed attitude have suffered greatly. Let us not follow their example,” President Kenyatta said in his July 27 address.

BREAKING RULES

Then, from his body language, tone, and facial expressions, the President did not hide his displeasure with the casual manner a majority of Kenyans had taken towards the Covid-19 fight, calling out the political class and asking police to deal firmly with those breaking these measures.

“…Those are the people who have interpreted the de-escalation of the measures as a green light to pay no heed to the guidance by our health authorities. Their reckless actions are endangering those around them, and our country,” the President said, adding: “The Inspector General shall ensure that his officers spare no mheshimiwa, or individual regardless of social status or rank, who is either out after curfew or who flaunts the health protocols…”

But on Monday, and two weeks after his tough talk, the President was reading from a different script, breaking the same rules he had asked police to enforce strictly.

NO FACE MASKS

While commissioning the construction of 16-bed capacity hospitals at Muthua in Uthiru and Kianda in Kibra as well as a 24-bed facility at Maendeleo Village in Mukuru kwa Reuben, he addressed crowds, ironically “urging Kenyans to continue protecting themselves from coronavirus by following the established health protocols.”

Hundreds of kilometres away in Kericho, Mr Kagwe, who has been at the forefront asking Kenyans to observe strict social distancing rules, was following in the footsteps of his boss.

He addressed a crowd, some of whom did not have masks on, leave alone observe social distance.

He waved back to the crowd that was jostling for space to “greet” him, with many wanting to have a glimpse of the man who has become the face of the Covid-19 fight. He went on to address the surging crowd for about three minutes.