Leaders in Nakuru have expressed concern at the sharp rise in the number of new Covid-19 infections in all the 11 sub-counties within the devolved unit.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui said over 80 percent of hospital spaces in public facilities in Nakuru were currently occupied by Covid-19 patients while private hospitals in the region were no longer admitting patients as their beds were filled to capacity.
Speaking during the burial ceremony of late Nakuru’s Lanet Umoja location Chief Francis Kariuki, popularly known as the ‘tweeting chief’, Mr. Kinyanjui said 75 percent of infections were recorded among men, adding that trends had indicated that individuals aged 55 years and above and those with underlying health complications were double at risk of infection than the rest of the population.
During the burial ceremony, Chief Kariuki who rose to international fame when he resorted to using Twitter to track missing livestock, thwart house break- ins and muggings by thugs, trace missing persons and track stolen items among others, was eulogized as a noble and dedicated public servant.
The Governor said the Department of Health had more than doubled the test for target population from 1,000 to 2,500 in seven sub-counties adding that a significant proportion of cases that have turned positive were asymptomatic.
He said in the past six months, no health worker and other frontline staff at public health facilities had been infected with the disease.
Bahati Member of Parliament Onesmus Ngunjiri expressed concern that Kenyans have in recent times adopted a careless and relaxed attitude by ignoring protocols put in place to check the spread of the pandemic such as social distancing, wearing face masks, washing and sanitizing hands.He stated that gradual de-escalation measures against Covid-19 were meant to open up the economy and should not be interpreted as a green light to pay no heed to the guidance by health authorities.
“These are not normal times. Countries whose citizens have taken a careless or relaxed attitude have suffered greatly. Let us not follow their example. All leaders must obey the law and be a good example to the public instead of convening rallies,” the MP said.
The MP seized the opportunity to petition the National Government to consider resettling thousands of people in Njoro Sub-County who were evicted from state-owned forests 20 years ago.
Kinyanjui observed that over 5,000 people who were kicked out of government forests years ago were squatting on a 5-acre piece of land within Kasarani Village in Elburgon.
Mr. Kinyanjui said he was in talks with the National Government to have the squatters allocated an alternative parcel of land and called on politicians not to milk mileage out of the situation.
He called on politicians to separate the ongoing debate on the proposed Constitutional reforms from the 2022 presidential succession and restrain themselves and their supporters from incitement and divisive politics.
Mr.Kinyanjui noted that, though in his opinion, the Building the Bridges initiative (BBI) guaranteed Kenya’s future stability, any amendments to the Kenyan constitution should be people-centered.
He said the current debate on BBI constitutional reforms should be structured in a manner that will not polarize the country along political and ethnic fault lines.
“All proponents of reforms should clearly bring out key issues for review and discussion. All suggestions on the amendments should come from Kenyans. Politicians must stop engaging in debates that may cause dangerous political hatred,” said the Governor
Mr. Kinyanjui said Kenyans should be left to read recommendations of the report and that responsible political leadership entailed enlightening Kenyans on BBI’s proposals without vested interests.
By Anne Mwale