Hard decisions on the reopening of the economy
By XN Iraki
| August 18th 2021
Matatus are back to carrying at full capacity and owners are happy. They will make more money, never mind the Covid-19 consequences. Since the pandemic arrived on Kenyan shores, the debate has been what should we choose between our health or money - read the economy.
Health took precedence, with hotels, restaurants and meeting places closed. I really sympathise with event organisers. The big question now is why we are opening up despite the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases and sadly deaths.
I can speculate. One, we have accepted that Covid-19 is not going away anytime soon. That is paradoxical, we should be more reluctant to open up, we now understand Covid-19 risks better.
Two, 2022 polls are not far. Could the vote seekers be trying to make the voters happy? We expect more populist decisions as the clock ticks towards 2022.
Three, without more stimulus packages or help from the government, why not leave Kenyans to fend for themselves? After all, we still can’t explain why Covid-19 was not as devastating as originally predicted.
Four, the promised vaccination might have convinced our leaders that things will get back to normal. The only problem, how do we convince a critical mass of Kenyans to accept vaccination? I find it curious that we are refusing vaccination when we all got immunised as children without any clue what it was all about.
Others could be asking why Covid-19 is not a big issue in schools despite overcrowding? “Why not try it elsewhere?” might be the reasoning.
In the coming days, more economic players will demand their “economic freedom”. Any entrepreneur making money from crowds is hard hit.
The hustlers are hardest hit by Covid-19 imposed lockdown. They had no savings and getting the daily bread is their number one concern. It’s more like poor people demanding industries that pollute the environment to get jobs, pollution is less of their evils.
Matatus will fill up, but the owners said no to bus fare decrease, they want to recoup their money.
Getting the economy back on its feet will go beyond full matatu capacity. Citizens must feel confident things are getting back to normal. Countering misinformation on vaccination with truth and facts is one route to normalcy. Which sector do you work in? Do you want it fully opened? Talk to us.
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