Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen has questioned the motive behind the eased Covid-19 restrictions.
On Saturday, May 1, President Uhuru Kenyatta in his Labour Day speech, announced that the cessation of movement into five-zoned counties namely Nairobi, Nakuru, Kiambu, Kajiado and Machakos has been lifted after Covid cases reduced significantly.
Kenyatta also revised the curfew hours in the five counties, to match the 10pm to 4am restriction being observed in other parts of Kenya.
As Kenyans took to social media to laud the President for his “sensitivity to citizens’ economic needs”, Murkomen held a different opinion.
“The lifting of cessation of movement and relaxation of Covid-19 rules is sponsored by BBI referendum, and not your petitions,” tweeted Murkomen.
The senator’s remarks come despite President Kenyatta’s insistence that political gatherings remain outlawed indefinitely to manage the Covid-19 crisis.
Murkomen, in his Saturday tweet, did not point out the direct link between BBI and the relaxed rules.
His school of thought was challenged by a section of his followers, who asked him to expound on the possible nexus between the two.
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Calvin Okoth, whose Twitter handle is @williamsonsok, said: “@kipmurkomen, you just had to create a political spin out of it? BBI referendum, if it will be there, is two months away. It can’t be the reason for relaxation of Covid rules.”
Mibei Mibei, whose handle is @realmibei, said: “@kipmurkomen, no; let’s not think that way. [It] looks like we’re too opportunistic on every decision made by [the] government. The lifting of the rules is to help revive the economy. [There is] nothing much to think about.”
Another user, Elvis Azunah, who goes by the handle @EAzunah, posed: “@kipmurkomen, boss, [do] you know how many Kenyans sleep hungry out here as a result of the closure of restaurants and other businesses? Don’t politicise every move the government makes.”
Thomson Muthama, whose Twitter tag is @tmuthama, said: “@kipmurkomen, you are too negative, sir. People are suffering out here, and every leader in this country knows that. You are just too preoccupied with BBI.”
However, not all followers faulted Murkomen’s thinking.
Chapia, whose Twitter handle is @david_osore, stated he hasn’t seen a big difference in Covid-19 infections in Kenya between March and April, and, therefore, the phased easing of restrictions “was not founded on any justifiable reasons”.
“What warranted the lift of the lockdown? Numbers [of Covid-19 infections] were not showing significant improvement. The average number of deaths were still reaching 20 daily. There was no mass vaccination held. Nothing much has changed. [Murkomen], please make us understand [the reasons behind the government’s recent move].”
Kahura Muriuki (@KahuraMuriuki) said: “@kipmurkomen, we knew it mheshimiwa. It is the BBI charade motivating the reopening of the country. I weep for my motherland! Till when will we be [held] hostage by some few individuals, who are after fulfilling their self-interests? A new dawn is coming.”
Murkomen’s remarks come on the back of planned debates on BBI by both Houses of Parliament.
Siaya Senator James Orengo exuded confidence the Bill will sail through in the legislative arm of Government, and, thereafter, a referendum held, possibly in July 2021, to effect constitutional changes.