County bosses have ruled out lockdown demand among proposals they intend to present to President Uhuru Kenyatta in today’s meeting meant to review measures put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.
The governors had threatened to seek lockdown of counties over a spike in cases being witnessed in the country since President Kenyatta eased restrictions early this month.
Reports indicate that the governors concluded there would be no need to restrict the movement of people, especially into and out of Nairobi.
In an interview with the Star, Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya said they want Nairobi left open “as it is the hub of Kenya’s economic activities.”
The Kakamega Governor said they will instead call on the Head of State to increase testing centres across the country.
To implement such a strategy, the county chiefs intend to push for speedy disbursement of cash from the National Treasury. The devolved units are yet to receive about Ksh68 billion of their allocation for the last financial year.
“Currently, no money is flowing to counties. How do they (National Treasury) expect counties to deal with these emergencies?” “What is critical is that we must increase testing centres. We have very few of them yet every county should have a testing centre,” said Oparanya.
“Counties will now be best placed to come up with ways of containing the disease. If we can enhance testing, it will alert us on how to contain the disease,” Oparanya said.
The governors also want the President to give strict orders on enforcement of curfew and social distancing directives saying people are not following the protocols meant to curb the spread of the virus.
The 5th Extra-Ordinary Session of the National and County Governments Co-ordinating Summit was scheduled to take place last Friday but was rescheduled on the request of governors.
The summit is set to review the efficacy of containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the Covid-19 restrictions including the lifting of movement restrictions and reopening of places of worship.
President Kenyatta had in June directed counties to set up at least 300-bed isolation units to help in the fight against the respiratory disease.
Some counties have achieved and surpassed the target and some are still lagging behind