Political rallies vs COVID 19
There exists a presidential directive banning all political and social gatherings in Kenya as they are known to abet spread of COVID 19.
Ministry of Health protocols further ramifies this citing Public Health Act CAP 242 as a basis for suspending all public gatherings until the country mitigates the raving deadly pandemic.
Churches, schools discotheques and all other social places have been affected by this well intended protocols save for political rallies.
Every day in Kenya we are treated to politicians traversing the country and attracting mammoth crowds to their events at the detriment of public health good.
With SARS COV 2 and more so delta variant of corona virus in our midst, one person has a potential of infecting about four people in a short period of time which essentially triggers a cataclysmic chain reaction in a population akin to what happened to Kisumu after Madaraka Day celebrations were held there.
The rallies therefore are becoming super spreaders of COVID 19 in Kenya hence watering down the hitherto huge effort mounted by Ministry of Health and all health actors in a bid to roll back the effect of COVID 19 in the country.
Kenyans are acutely aware of the deadly nature of COVID 19 as every family has either lost a loved one or reeling from high ICU bills associated with this disease.
Public health messaging has been superbly good in the last one year.
Then what triggers these otherwise well informed Kenyans to throw caution to the wind and physically attend these rallies endangering their health and the health of their loved ones?
What motivates politicians who are supposed to be patriots and whose aim is to take leadership and lead a prosperous and healthy nation to gamble with the lives of Kenyans in this manner in-spite of all directives against political rallies?
I have come to the conclusion that euphoria of three things outweigh all manner of common sense:
1. Love euphoria. 2. Football euphoria. 3. Political euphoria.
These euphorias distort the sane and reasoning part of human beings (limbic system) and make humans slaves of their id (the part of you that wants instant gratification).
As the Government is mauling over on how to react to these unfolding scenarios, I have a few suggestions on the way forward:
1. All people who want to attend political rallies must be vaccinated and show evidence of that vaccination.
Medical personnel should be stationed alongside these rallies to vaccinate, teach people about social distancing and offer double face masks to those who wish anyway to attend these rallies and yet are unvaccinated.
2. All rally organizers must be instructed to slot room for voter registration to their followers.
I have heard IEBC complain of low voter turnout on the current ongoing voter registration exercise and as such this is an important time to use politicians to support the registration agenda by encouraging voters to do so.
So, mobile IEBC teams should be attached to those rallies to register those who have not done so.
3. Car attendance.
If it’s a must you have to attend a political rally, and you own a car, get into your car and drive to the rally venue and stay inside your car.
Whenever you agree with what your mandarin is explaining you honk your car horn. The rest can maintain COVID-19 social distance protocol.
4. Consider having virtual rallies for those who can afford; after all 60% of voters are youth who have access to phones.
So, you can reach them easily without jeopardizing their lives.
No election is worth lose of human life, let’s protect ourselves and others by maintaining public health protocol of COVID 19 vaccination, wearing a face mask, sanitizing and maintaining social distance.