In Summary
  • Let us take care not to cause an even worse disaster of civil unrest and violence.

As the global toll exceeded 50,000 and infections surpassed the million mark, governments have been making efforts to stem the Covid-19 tide.

Kenya has so far suffered four deaths with 142 patients on treatment and hundreds others either at quarantine centres or in self-isolation at home to determine their status. Four people have so far recovered from the disease.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has particularly won wide acclaim for his leadership in the war against the new coronavirus.

In his daily televised updates, Mr Kagwe has often implored Kenyans to take the disease seriously and issued directives aimed at curbing it.

Kenyans generally seem to trust him and have heeded his advice, and that must have contributed greatly towards halting the spread of the virus.

However, the CS’s oft-repeated pleas to urban dwellers, particularly Nairobi residents, to keep off the rural areas could be misinterpreted — with disastrous effects.

ANARCHY

Vernacular radio stations are also, citing the CS, asking listeners to “lock up Nairobi people in churches”.

Others have called on senior citizens to be rounded up, based on the already debunked myth that the elderly are more susceptible to the virus.

City residents are now seen as Covid-19 carriers out to infect their families and villagemates. That is stigmatising urban dwellers.

In some places, villagers, led by local administrators, are said to be waylaying city residents as they drop off supplies and harassing them.

This portends a rise in an organised thuggery, anarchy and could spill over to violence.

With the General Election just over a year away, unscrupulous politicians could take advantage of the situation to fund such groups, making them uncontrollable.

Much as we try all means to stymie the killer disease, let us take care not to cause an even worse disaster of civil unrest and violence.