This long Covid-19 night has gone on too long

Health CAS Rashid Aman (centre) receives a donation of Covid-19 diagnostic test kits from the Japanese ambassador to Kenya Horie Ryoichi on August 27, 2020.

Photo credit: Aggrey Omboki | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The president makes many promises to support the vulnerable but most of that is not honoured.
  • The government says it is looking out for businesses but all they do is is take money out of the pockets of small business owners by inflating test prices.
  • Politicians impose restrictions and rules they do not abide by.

We’ve been in the throes of Covid-19 since March 13. Ish, no one is really keeping track anymore in what feels like a long night that has gone on too long. We’ve slipped into that phase where really, regardless of what the president says, there is still no vaccine, and so life can never really go back to normal. Not this year, anyway. Not for a while.

And yet, somehow, the Kenyan government claims to continue to protect its citizens against this global scourge. Do you feel protected? I certainly don’t. The government made a host of promises at the beginning of this pandemic, as it is wont to do – we will give out masks and sanitisers en masse, was one. Clearly their definition of en masse was in one highly publicised distribution that ended in a stampede and television time. We are doing everything we can to combat this disease and help the citizenry! Everything except have enough tests, provide organised quarantine, give clear regulations, put the police in check, listen to our pleas about police brutality, keep the airports closed down, direct landlords to ease the rent burden, reduce fuel prices…even reducing fuel prices, they could not do, and when they did it, it was a mistake that they quickly remedied the next month.

We are looking out for businesses, they said – all the while taking money out of the pockets of small business owners by inflating test prices (and regularly commanding checks and regulations that the politicians themselves don’t do, not in their homes, and certainly not at their rallies). We are bringing down taxes and loans, and helping the common man – while making no provision for the common man to survive.

Which begs the question, who is this curfew for?

Budding election season

Nairobi County senator, Johnstone Sakaja, was given a slap on the wrist for his miscreancy – a very public slap, which he has now resorted to making jokes about on Twitter. That’s all well and good, but Senator Sakaja is not suffering, and has not suffered. The government seems to be in the throes of a budding election season, and they’re not obeying any of the Ministry of Health regulations, or those of the World Health Organization, or anyone else’s, but their own. So this curfew is not for politicians. If anything, the government is massively, grossly, benefiting from this virus, if recent news specials are to be believed.

Is the curfew for the common man? How, when the common man wants it lifted? Is it supposed to protect us from ourselves? How will a curfew protect us from ourselves if nothing else the government is doing is geared to do so?

No, the curfew isn’t for us. Is it to reduce crime, so that the police have a lighter load? Maybe. Considering the fact that there was a time that the police had killed more people than the virus, it would appear that the police will do what they were going to do regardless. So maybe this curfew is to protect us from the police – because that’s one of the only options that makes sense to me. We’re supposed to be protected from them.

There are already reports of the curve flattening – I didn’t believe the numbers that were being rolled out at the beginning that whipped us into a frenzy of panic, and I don’t believe these numbers now. But, a supposed flattening curve means growth for an economy, and accessibility to more international money to help us get to the ideal vaccine period. The ruse is up. We have to look like we are getting better at dealing with Covid-19 (of course we are) so that we can get more money from the IMF, and Japan, and whoever was in the newspaper last week (which of course we will). No one really cares about the reality on the ground. Not the people standing behind mics and starting their manifesto nonsense and shaking hands, anyway. The ruse is up – and curfew should be over, too. Because there’s really nothing it is doing.