Dear Kagwe, don’t fight pandemic with guns

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe gives an update on the Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya at Afya House in Nairobi on November 16, 2020.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

There once was a teacher who made me fall in love with words Standard Four. He bought me comic books and a book called Pivot English Course, which helped me with my grammar.

He was an untrained teacher, hose days informally known as UT. There’s a poem that I still remember the first two lines: Boxes of matches and packets of tea, sacks of sugar and bottles of ghee.

This poem has stayed in my head for over 30 years, because I really admired that teacher. He later went to India for studies and he kept in touch with his students through airmail.

 He came back and we lost touch. Years later he became an MP and a minister, and I still admired him because in Parliament, he wasn’t a demagogue and always seemed reasonable in his press briefings and public utterances. Security issue.

All was well from afar until he was appointed the Health Cabinet Secretary. My former teacher became someone I wouldn’t admire and has turned a health issue into a security issue, with armed policemen instead of doctors being on the forefront of the Covid-19 response, as if by bludgeoning Kenyans, you are somehow fighting a virus, while Tanzania is miles ahead in both the health aspects as well as the economic shock recovery.

Covid-19 vaccine

A week ago, he had to defend his comments on the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, after a video clip captured him expressing reservations on its efficacy, claiming it had been taken out of context.

In a statement issued hours after the video clip went viral amid heavy backlash triggered by his remarks, the CS said his remarks were in line with the doubts that have been publicly cast by global experts on the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines.

He further said that Kenya won’t spend money on a yet to be scientifically proven vaccine and it should instead wait for globally and scientifically acceptable vaccines.

He said the ministry was still monitoring other vaccine candidates still under clinical trials. It’s a fact that the CS’s remarks were uncalled for and made him the subject of ridicule as thousands of Kenyans on cosial media took issue with him for casting doubts on global efforts aimed at containing the pandemic.

Mutahi Kagwe, your former pupil at Ramisi Primary School, Standard Four Blue is deeply disappointed in you.

Walter Manyara, Nakuru


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