Thursday, April 1, 2021 – As Covid-19 continues to ravage the world, killing as many people in its wake as possible, it has emerged that many of our very own legislators have contracted the deadly virus and are suffering in silence as they are too afraid to declare their status publicly just like former Prime Minister Raila Odinga did.
Many MPs and Senators are currently in ICU battling Coronavirus.
Parliamentary leadership has expressed frustrations in containing the spread of Covid-19 in the House due to lack of disclosure by most legislators.
According to sources, several MPs who contracted the virus, or are identified as primary contacts, continued to attend House proceedings as well as committee meetings without disclosing the same to speakers or clerks.
The concerns have emerged even as the National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya informed the House that some members of the joint committee on Justice and Legal Affairs (JLAC) have tested positive for Covid-19, thereby halting its sittings meant to engage experts and write a report on the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
Senate Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio and Kimunya yesterday moved motions in their respective Houses to alter the calendar for the Fifth Session.
Kimunya even informed the House that JLAC sittings were suspended last week after some members tested Covid-19 positive and went into isolation.
But National Assembly JLAC vice-chairman Otiende Amollo disagreed with Kimunya’s assertions on the Health Status of the BBI team members.
The committee was expected to table its report today.
A section of MPs had opposed the adjournment of the bicameral House on Tuesday, just days after President Uhuru Kenyatta imposed lockdown in Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru counties.
National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi attributed the irresponsible action of some of the MPs to the surge in infections.
“It should be a matter of personal responsibility for one to stay away and isolate until they are sure they are safe before engaging with colleagues,” he said.
Mbadi criticized some MPs for doubting the vaccine, a thing he says will endanger the lives of other members in the House.
“I know there are some of my colleagues here who have been offered the opportunity to be vaccinated but they are cowards Mr. Speaker,” he said.
Mbadi openly stated that the virus has seriously made its way into the chambers and if members do not take action, more lives will be put at risk.
“Some of us, a good number of our members, have been affected and that is true, that is factual. Some are fighting for their lives,” said the minority leader.
He supported the motion by Kimunya to send MPs on recess as a means to limit the spread of the virus.
Busia Senator Amos Wako also challenged the Senate to take radical steps to ensure the safety of Senators and Kenyans at large.
“As somebody who has gone through this terrible thing and has been lucky to survive, I fully support this motion (alteration of Senate calendar),” said Wako.
The Senate and the National Assembly will resume sittings in May with the agreement of having committees meeting virtually.
The Kenyan DAILY POST