In a letter from the Office of the President dated March 18, 2020, Head of the Public Service Joseph Kinyua said the government was overseeing manufacture of alcohol-based sanitisers following a recommendation by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The sanitisers were to be distributed to most vulnerable Kenyans, for free.
The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) released 18 containers of ethanol that had been seized from illegal importers, as directed by the government to manufacture sanitisers to curb the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19).
“The government is desirous of distributing affordable sanitizers to the general public. To this end, corporations in the oil industry have volunteered to produce alcohol-based sanitizers for distribution for free to the general public,” Kinyua said in the letter.
396,000 litres of ethanol that had been held at the Port of Mombasa was released for the purpose of manufacturing free sanitisers.
On March 27, 10 days after the announcement, Nzioka Waita, the State House Chief of Staff, confirmed that his office had received the sanitisers, and they were ready for distribution.
“Received my bottle of FREE hand sanitizer produced by GOK . These sanitizers will be distributed countrywide for FREE!” Nzioka said in a tweet.
It looked like the first promise to be fully fulfilled by the Jubilee government, but it was just another promise that would never see the light of the day.
— Nzioka Waita (@NziokaWaita) March 27, 2020
26 days later after the confirmation, let alone the sanitisers, the bottles are nowhere to be seen, putting to question the government’s word for free sanitisers, at a time the infection in the country are escalating.
The distribution exercise was to be overseen by respective county commissioners in all the 47 counties.
As of March 30, it was announced that over 93,000 litres of the free government of Kenya hand sanitiser had been released to several counties namely Nairobi, Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale and Nakuru. Others include Siaya, Kajiado, Kiambu, Muranga, Makueni and Machakos.
To date, there is no evidence to prove that the sanitisers reached the intended people, and it is suspected that the sanitisers could have been intercepted by cartels, repackaged and now on the shelves for sale.