Late Thursday afternoon, photos of Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi addressing what looked like an organized political gathering emerged on social media.
In the now-viral images, the two Rift Valley politicians seem to be flouting all COVID-19 prevention measures issued by the government through the Ministry of Health (MoH).
Upon the confirmation of Kenya’s first case in 2020, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe suspended all public gatherings in the country in March 2020.
“We have suspended all public gatherings, meetings, religious crusades, games, and all events that are of a huge public nature. Normal church service can go on, provided they provide hand sanitizers s people go into the worship areas,” Kagwe directed.
On the interwebs, Kenyans kicked up a fuss with the legislators, taking turns to spot some of the many risky practices at the meeting which left the residents exposed to the deadly virus which has so far claimed 320 lives in the country.
The one that stood out was the fact that there was no mask on sight as the attentive audience paid zero respect to the social distancing rules outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Ironically, both Sudi and Murkomen had their surgical masks tightly fitted on and kept a substantial distance from the crowd.
In some of the tweets featured below, some netizens called for legal authorities to move in swiftly and take action on the two.
Public gatherings are illegal.
Government banned them.
But a Whole Senate Majority Leader Mr Murkomen & Oscar Sudi decided that they are above the law and People of Elgeyo Marakwet are immune to #coronavirus.
Is government afraid of them??
Arrest them! pic.twitter.com/7Py3Pd6G7C
— Mr. Kinuthia Pius. (@Belive_Kinuthia) April 23, 2020
Kipchumba Murkomen risking the lives of hundreds if not thousands. No masks no social distancing. pic.twitter.com/mdobhhxnA8
— Sir Teya (@Kevin_teya) April 23, 2020
Murkomen and Sudi have broken all corona safety regulations including ban on political gatherings but your favorite @PoliceKE are nowhere to make arrests. The police's main focus is to harass small people and force them into quarantine. Shame! pic.twitter.com/sXdFObHIy5
— Bobby (@Bob_Odhiambo) April 23, 2020
No one is above the law Murkomen should be arrested and be taken to quarantine like the deputy governor of kilifi
— Abdulahi Adan (@AbdulahiAdan10) April 23, 2020
I always hate HYPOCRITICAL politicians. Like Murkomen now seems to mind about his life than those hundreds sited there! This is the bankrupt IDEOLOGY of Ruto. Perhaps the spirit of Jacob Juma is haunting them! After Ruai, Weston, they'll be handling some tough issues. #40billion pic.twitter.com/foVKofzZan
— Abuga Makori EGH, MBE (@o_abuga) April 23, 2020
In Kenya, recklessness by politicians has been widely attributed by citizens as one of the major reasons that led to the initial spread of the illness.
Kilifi Deputy Governor was arrested on April 3 for allegedly exposing the public to COVID-19 after defying self-quarantine regulations when he jetted into the country from Germany on March 6.
He later tested positive for COVID-19, according to a medical report from Kenya Medical Research Institute in Kilifi, which was submitted in court.
Last week the sighting of ODM Leader Raila Odinga’s car being cleared through a roadblock in Kajiado County caused an online uproar with journalists reporting that the African Union envoy, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa and local politician David Murathe were cleared as “essential services providers” to proceed to a meeting with Francis Atwoli at his Idamat home.