October 27, 2020

COVID-19 MITIGATION: Mr President, Hunger Will kill More Than Covid-19

Peter Kombe. Image; (FILE)

Episode 10 

BY PETER KOMBE

JOURNALIST

The COAST Media Group

Mombasa

Email; thecoastnewspaper@gmail.com

Kenyans throughout the country are experiencing hardships and suffering because of the novel virus COVID-19 in the socioeconomic front.

It is quite a tough time for Kenyans especially the low income earners, destitute and the physically challenged.

As I write this article, let me share a short story on how one of my good neighbours is struggling to survive during this period.

She is a mother of six children.

Amina, not her real name, gets her daily bread from a kibanda she runs outside her rental house.

She says the capital injected on the business is Sh 490 and the business has since then declined due to corona virus.

You can imagine how tough it is for Amina to feed her six children.

To some, Amina’s fate may sound so usual but the truth stands that the government can do something to assist thousands of similar families at the grassroots.

This story is just a drop in the sea but I believe it is a reflection of thousands of such families undergoing untold pains and sufferings in their struggles to survive the pandemic.

The curfew started a week ago is now telling, as many Kenyans find it literary difficult to eke a living and provide adequately to their families, especially in the rural settings.

What is the impact of the curfew? Tremendous! First, Kenya has been fabricated into a new amorphous model that nobody can identify nor explain.

Gatherings of whatever kind have been suspended by different government departments where the virus has manifested itself.

STANDSTILL

Second, everything is at standstill – no weddings, no funerals, no partying and no nothing is taking shape of something in real life situation.

It is common for Kenyans to socialize till late night whether in bars restaurants and night parties. But everything has been turned upside down with the effect of curfew regulations.

Third, everyday panic grips Kenyans when 7 pm approaches and they are nowhere close to home knowing the punitive measures that will be meted out to them if caught by the law enforcers.

Mr President, through your office, can the security agencies wear human face when dealing with your charges in lieu of kicks, slaps, whips and shootings?

President Uhuru Kenyatta at a past function. He ordered for a night curfew starting from 7 pm to 5 am as a measure to combat COVID-19. Image; (Courtesy)

In my view, the government should not shut down the economy as this will have an adverse effect and hurt the entire Kenyan society.

Globally, Covid 19 has not only created social gap but also economic split in developed, developing and underdeveloped countries.

Many of you will attest to the fact that the economy is struggling as witnessed by dozens of supermarkets chains and shopping malls that have closed to contain the virus.

One of my close friends, a mason (builder) by profession recently told me that the company he works for has suspended all its workers and currently is struggling to survive as a porter.

A porter carrying a sack of potatoes in one of the markets. Low income earners are experiencing the bite of COVID-19. Image; (Courtesy)

Again places of worships are no go zones and this is denying the faithfuls their daily nourishment of God’s words.

GOD-FEARING

Kenya, being a God-fearing country, should allow services and prayers to continue under stringent measures as prescribed by the set health guidelines.

Closing down of the entire education system has rendered useless the schools and institutions programs for the 2020 academic year.

And the ongoing Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) online educational programs are not beneficial to all Kenyan learners who lack the essential gadgets for the same.

As I come to a close, let me appreciate what the government is doing to protect Kenyans against this deadly contagious disease that has paralyzed the entire world.

However, in our situation what would be better? Armed with food, thermometers, sanitizers, masks or informational pamphlets for distribution to the public with empty stomachs?

But let us think critically how to cope with this ongoing illness that knows no name, history or wealth.

My fears are that if on top of their socioeconomic hardship citizens will continue experiencing abuse by state officials during the curfew and possible lockdown it may result into wide scale unrest and a rejection of the state.

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