Stop campaigns and uphold Covid rules, religious groups urge leaders

(From left to right ) Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, Interfaith Council Chairman and Arch Bishop of Nyeri, Anthony Muheria, and Interior and Coordination of Government Fred Matiangi during a consultative meeting on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, in Nairobi. [Samson Wire. Standard].

Religious groups have urged politicians to go slow on political campaigns amid the rising number of Covid-19 infections and deaths in the country.

Addressing the media yesterday in Nairobi after meeting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his Health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe, the Interfaith Council called on leaders observe Covid-19 safety measures.

‘‘As Interfaith Council, we have presented our concerns to the two. We want to express our disappointment in the current situation. We seem to have lost our focus on the Covid-19 pandemic battle," said Archbishop Anthony Muheria, chairman of the Interfaith Council on Covid-19.

"We have noticed the daily updates from the Ministry of Health and the numbers of infections and deaths are not good at all,’’ he added. 

The religious leaders decried what they termed lack of alignment in observing safety measures by the political class. 

"We plead with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Cabinet Secretaries and religious leaders that if possible carry on a campaign to paint the reality of the virus to Kenyans. We also appeal to politicians to please take the lives of Kenyans seriously and defend and protect these lives by stopping political rallies.’’

The plea comes at a time religious leaders have been blamed for allowing politicians to use the pulpit to campaign and attack opponents.

The council also asked religious leaders to encourage faithful to go for the Covid-19 vaccine, saying they had been assured of collaboration and availability of the vaccine by the government.

So far, slightly more than two million Kenyans have been vaccinated.

‘‘We also call upon all people to think about their elderly parents and grandparents, who are the majority of those dying and sensitise them that Covid-19 is real and we must come out to fight it,’’ he said.

Archbishop Muheria praised clerics, who have continued to uphold Ministry of Health protocols despite feeling fatigued in enforcing measures, and urged them to soldier on.

They also expressed concerns and dissatisfaction in the transport sector, which they said had relaxed in ensuring social distance by carrying excess passengers.

‘‘We also continue to request the religious leaders to ensure burials are attended by few people, social distance is observed, wearing of masks, sanitising is observed and no serving of food at funerals,’’ said Muheria.

Speaking to the media on the Laikipia County security situation, Matiang’i, who did not respond to the media on Interfaith Council’s concerns, said they had taken measures to deal with the situation.

The government has enforced a 6pm to 6am curfew in the county. 


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