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Parliament should review penalty for not wearing mask, MCA says

A Siaya member of the county assembly has described as punitive, penalties imposed by the government to combat the spread of Coronavirus.

Central Alego member of the county assembly, Leonard Oriaro said the Sh 20,000 fine for one found guilty of not wearing a face mask properly was hefty for the common mwananchi.

Speaking to the press after distributing masks and soap to the residents of his ward on Thursday, Oriaro said that law enforcement agents have now turned the whole thing into a cash cow and were harassing villagers.

He said there was need for members of the national assembly and senate to stand with the ordinary citizens by ensuring that the laws enacted and being enforced do not turn against the public.

“The two houses of parliament must urgently review the hefty fines and make them affordable,” he said adding that his statement must not be taken that he supports those who fail to observe the law.

He said that the laws that were added to the Public Health Act were not subjected to public participation as required and challenged the legislators to rise to the occasion and perform their role.

Oriaro said that the police must not be allowed to militarise the war against Coronavirus spread, where they beat people found without masks or outside minutes after the beginning of curfew.

“The war against coronavirus has been equated to a war against Al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups. This will not help going forward,” he said adding that there was need to involve the public while making laws that affect them.

He said that it was the responsibility of the elected members of parliament to ensure that the laws imposed by the executive to curb spread of coronavirus were constitutional lest the public rejects them and turn against law enforcement agents.

During the occasion, Oriaro distributed over 10,000 face masks, bar soaps and sugar worth about Sh 3.4 million to the vulnerable members of the society.

By Philip Onyango

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