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Nairobi
The Senate will resume its sittings on Tuesday (today) afternoon with coronavirus menace forming part of its agenda.

The Senate will resume its sittings on Tuesday (today) afternoon with coronavirus menace forming part of its agenda.

And it will be a lean, young house as only 28 young legislators will enter the House for the sittings.

Senators and staff members aged above 58 have been allowed to work from home based on the feeling that they fall within the vulnerable group. 

SEE ALSO: Parties in mad rush to replace Kindiki

“In accordance with the Ministry of Health’s advisory, Senators and staff aged 58 years and above are encouraged to abide by the Presidential directive dated 25th March 2020 and thus work from home,” the Senate notes.

It says lawmakers with other underlying health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, asthmatic, HIV positive or having other issues are exempted and can do so from home.

While talking about the sittings, Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’ highlighted the business before the floor of the House saying that there would be an emphasis on the national and county measures to combat the spread of Covid-19.

“This afternoon the Senate convenes to debate a motion to establish a select committee to: support the ongoing war against Covid-19, oversight (sic) national and county government interventions, propose monetary and fiscal measures and ensure a quick return to normalcy. Social distancing applies,” he said.

The House has said there will be a deviation from the norms followed in the usual sittings to comply with safety mechanisms to avoid possible spread of the virus.

SEE ALSO: Kenya records 127 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours

A tweet posted on the wall of the Senate today reads: “As part of the preventive measures in place, hand sanitisers and face masks shall be provided at the entrance of the Chamber and the Mini Chamber for use by all Senators and staff as they enter the Chambers.”

On March 26, 2020, Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka (above) said that the lawmakers would discuss virus control mechanisms but prioritise how to address the plight of Kenyans, who are already feeling the pinch of the outbreak economically.

“The Senate shall resume sittings on Tuesday 31st March 2020 at 2.30 pm - and a sitting every subsequent week - to prioritise and process legislative measures to cushion Kenyans against the economic effects of this pandemic,” he said.

Amidst calls to maintain safety in the gatherings, which are otherwise discouraged; the Senate has come up with a number of strategies to avoid possible infections.

The media and other members of the public are barred from entering the Chamber. This, the Senate says, will limit the congestion in the Senate Chambers, which would otherwise be risky.

SEE ALSO: Burundi First Lady hospitalised at Aga Khan with Covid-19

It noted “the media and the public shall not be allowed access the Senate Chamber during today's plenary Sitting. Accordingly, Committees shall, where required, make arrangements to receive written submissions or responses from the public.”

 Members of the House are also advised not to consult at the Speaker’s or the Clerk’s table as that may lead to overcrowding.

Geared to discuss the State’s steps in fighting Covid-19 is the Ad hoc Committee which will look into various measures put in place by the Executive.

Top of the agenda is the country’s food safety in terms of crisis.

“The Adhoc Committee will be to examine measures put in place by the National Government to ensure the continuous supply of food and other essential commodities at affordable prices and measures to enable learners in educational institutions to continue with their studies,” the statement from Senate read.

SEE ALSO: Availability of clean, adequate and affordable water services first line of defence against Covid-19

The other areas of focus are the impact on businesses and the country's medical equipment which could be inadequate to fight the Covid-19 scourge.

It notes: “Establishment of a stimulus package for the SMEs, easing of legislative and regulatory requirements for doing business, protection of employees from retrenchment and job losses, uniform policies and procedures aimed at slowing and eventually stopping the spread of the virus.”

Adding: “Examine the provision of testing and medical equipment, including adequate ventilators in referral hospitals and in at least one public hospital in each County, provision of adequate isolation centres and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in each County.”


Senate Covid-19 Kenya Coronavirus Kenya Ken Lusaka

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