Kenya: Another Lockdown Looms

2 Nov 2020

Kenya may be up for another Lockdown with the new wave of Covid-19 infections.

The country could revert to stricter containment measures to control the rapid spread of Covid-19.

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday admitted that there have been discussions on the best measures to take in the wake of the increasing number of infections and deaths from the virus.

Among the options the president said the government has been battling with is whether to re-impose the closing of the economy as they did when the first cases of the virus were reported.

“We are going through that difficult time where we are now wondering what to do. Do we close up? We shall be coming back to that. Not today, but soon,” he said.

Uhuru was speaking at the All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi, during celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) as an independent province yesterday.

He said Covid-19 was a serious problem and he was worried that the numbers have been growing over the last few weeks. He commended the church for observing the protocols to prevent spread of the disease, saying people should use the church as an example of institutions that have adhered to the Covid-19 containment measures.

The president is expected to convene a crisis meeting this week with county governments to address the resurgence of infections and its effects. The meeting will look into the existing models on the spread of the disease, and how the disease is evolving. The month of October recorded 16,663 infections and 285 deaths.

“We don’t have to (close) if only people would observe and would be caring for their fellow citizens. It is possible to keep Covid at bay and lead a normal life,” he said.

He emphasised that when they were reopening the economy in September, they advised that people take personal responsibility to prevent the spread of the virus, but most people have not adhered to the basic rules such as social distancing, sanitising and wearing masks.

Uhuru lauded the church for holding Kenya’s political leadership to account and encouraged the clergy to continue being the country’s “conscience”.

“Yes you are out there to save souls but you are also out there to serve and ensure that the will of your people is followed and committed by their leaders,” he said.

He added: “I want to encourage you that you shouldn’t stop that but continue because as my father used to say, ‘You the church are indeed the conscience of society’ and we need you at the very forefront to ensure that we who have also been given the mandate by the people to execute on their behalf an agenda to improve livelihoods are kept on toes.”

The ACK traces its roots to the arrival of Anglican missionaries at the Kenyan coast in mid 19th century. The first Kenyan ACK bishops were consecrated in 1955. Five years later, the Anglican Church of Kenya became part of the Province of East Africa. Fifty years ago, in August 1970, the ACK became an independent province of the Anglican with the late Archbishop Festo Olang as its head.

The president said the Anglican Church was inseparable from the Kenyan society, as it has greatly contributed to the growth of education, health and other key social sectors of the country.

Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit urged Kenyans to avoid the culture of negative competition and commit to values of service, which he said would go a long way in building a great nation.

Provost Sammy Wainaina said politicians were notorious for not obeying Covid-19 containment rules and urged Uhuru to find ways of controlling the political meetings.