The confirmation of Kenya’s fourth coronavirus (COVID-19) case on Tuesday, March 17, sent Parliament into a panic after it emerged that some lawmakers and staff might have come into close contact with the patient.
The revelations were made by Senate majority leader Kipchuba Murkomen as he moved an adjournment motion over COVID-19 fears.
The Elgeyo Marakwet Senator told the House that the fourth patient had travelled in the same London-Nairobi plane with some legislators and members of the Parliamentary Service Commission.
“The decision to adjourn the House was reached by PSC which is recommended to both Houses, but it is not binding on us. We are not a conveyor belt to accept everything that comes from the PSC. But there is a story behind it,” Murkomen said.
“The commission itself has scaled down staff. There is also information that many people had travelled. In fact, there are some people who belong to this House and National Assembly who were in the same flight with the fourth victim.”
Murkomen’s claims elicited a heated debate with some senators including Mutula Kilonzo Junior (Makueni) and his Nyamira counterpart Okong’o Omogeni pressing the legislator to reveal the names of the individuals.
Omogeni called on the MPs to self-quarantine.
“If Mr. Speaker there are some of our colleagues, distinguished senators of this house, who were out of the country in jurisdiction affected by this disease, the prudent thing to do is to go into self-quarantine,” Omogeni said.
A report by People Daily indicates that lawmakers who had travelled to London include senators George Khaniri (Vihiga) and Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho) and National Assembly members Adan Keynan (Eldas), Shaban (Taita Taveta) and unidentified PSC staff.
In fact, a section of the National Assembly members had protested the presence of Adan Keynan forcing Speaker Justin Muturi to order the MP vacate the House.
Similarly, Aden Duale, the Hosue Majority Leader, also alerted the Speaker that Shaban had travelled to London. The MP was also forced to walk out.
The fourth case of coronavirus in the country was confirmed yesterday by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.
The latest case was confirmed today at the National Influenza Centre (NIC) Laboratory.
The patient is reported to have travelled from London on March 8 and arrived in the country on March 9.
The CS said the government is tracing individuals who travelled with the patient for necessary action.