Members of Parliament were bemused by Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo’s remarks over the fate of Kenyans stuck in Wuhan, China – the epicentre of coronavirus.
Appearing before the Departmental Committee for Defence and Foreign Relations Committee, the CS was tasked with explaining the steps being taken by the government to evacuate its citizens.
100 Kenyans including 91 students, and nine acrobats are stuck in Wuhan.
“Our focus is on the students locked down there…we have to deal with them in a more delicate and sensitive way given that they are in the epicenter. We have to give them special attention, monitor their well being constantly,” she said.
She did, however, decline to confirm or deny whether the Kenyans will be evacuated or not. Ms Omamo, on the other hand, said that Kenya’s Ambassador to China, Sarah Serem, is in contact with the Kenyans marooned in the foreign country.
Omamo also confirmed that she and her colleagues have in place measure to combat the threat. These include an inter-ministerial technical committee, 41 hotlines through which the students can seek psychological help.
She was also asked to list the nationalities of the 239 people aboard a China Southern Airlines Flight that touched down at JKIA on Wednesday.
“The flight that touched down in the country yesterday, was subjected to WHO requirements before it was allowed in Kenya. All the passengers were asked to self-quarantine. It is quite difficult to respond to certain questions. Given some of the passengers were wearing face masks, I wouldn’t be able to tell if they were from India, China, Elgeyo-Marakwet or Kisumu,” she responded.
Belgut MP, Nelson Koech was not amused when the CS averred that she lacked proper understanding of the virus which has killed thousands of people.
“I have sat here listening painfully to the CS of Foreign Affairs giving underwhelming and sickening answers to this Committee,” he said.
Other committee members also expressed their disappointment in the CS’s answers.
They include; Ole Metito Katoo Judah (chairperson) Tongi Richard Nyagaka (vice-chairperson) and members: Mwathi Peter Mungai, Koech Nelson, Kilonzo Charles Mutavi, Abdullah Bashir Sheikh, Wanjira Martha Wangari, Raso Dido Ali, Kirima Moses Nguchine, Yussuf Adan Haji, Nyaga Beatrice Nkatha, Tuwei Vincent Kipkurui, Nakara John Lodepe, Gogo Lilian Achieng, Kanchory Elijah Memusi, Mohamed Asha Hussein, King’ola Patrick Makau, Kivai Ernest Ogesi and Luyai Caleb Amisi.
To this, she said, “I am sorry that you find my answers to be underwhelming. I don’t know what language to use to reveal how the Government is committed to tackling this issue. Let us not lose hope, let us handle this issue .”
So far, 80,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported globally with two new cases being reported in the United Kingdom.
78, 000 people have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in China alone. 2, 747 individuals have died from the virus