Inside Uhuru’s four-hour talks with governors

''Nationwide curfew extended by 30-days'' - President Uhuru

What you need to know:

  • The spike in infections came after his July 6 address in which he eased measures including a cessation of movement into counties considered hotspots - Nairobi, Mandera and Mombasa.

 With governors divided on lockdown and the scandal of counties that lied over their Covid-19 preparedness, many would have expected President Uhuru Kenyatta’s extra-ordinary summit on the pandemic to be tense on Monday.

But far from it, the four-hour virtual meeting with county governors was cordial, thanks to a calm and somewhat jovial host— Mr Kenyatta.

The leaders of the two levels of government discussed a raft of measures and reached 23 recommendations to help arrest the virus, some of which did not feature in the president’s televised speech.

Mr Kenyatta, for instance, instructed the National Treasury to immediately release Sh57.3 billion to counties to boost their war chest against the pandemic.

He further gave the Exchequer two weeks to release to the devolved units outstanding remittances of conditional grants amounting to Sh4.6 billion.

RELEASE MONIES

The president equally instructed Treasury Cabinet Ukur Yattani to release the counties’ equitable share of revenue for the month of June, under financial year 2019/2020, and the allocation for July.

The order to expedite the release of the monies comes after county governments said that the delay was hurting their preparedness for the Covid-19 surge.

During the fifth extraordinary session on corona, the head of state also ordered the devolved units to procure personal protective equipment (PPEs) from government-approved suppliers.

Mr Kenyatta said that the health ministry would be tasked with the expeditious conclusion of construction of health facilities under the equitable fund programme and hand them over to county governments on a priority basis.

On matters education, the president issued several directives, including one deferring the reopening of universities to January 2021. He told the Education ministry to facilitate this and ensure online learning and graduations continue.

TRANSFORMATIVE PROGRAMME

He stated that the Education ministry will embark on a rigorous and transformative programme to address all infrastructural gaps in all basic learning institutions across the country.

“The Ministry of Education shall expedite the roll-out of the eight-point stimulus programme which targets to improve school infrastructure by various means, including the acquisition of at least 250,000 locally fabricated desks,” he said.

Similarly, the ministry will develop protocols for community learning, which shall guide learning through a teacher-volunteer programme for children living in the same community or neighbourhood.

During the virtual meeting, which included the Inter-Faith Council, it was decided that there shall be a limited number of persons attending religious gatherings.

“All religious ceremonies and festivals will continue to be conducted with limited person-to-person contact and at all times with strict fidelity to the guidelines issued by the Interfaith Council with the approval of Ministry of Health,” he said.

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