Is the government trying to raise the figure for the sake of sensationalism?
On Saturday, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe “revealed ” how a group of mourners travelled from Nairobi to Homabay only for the driver to test positive for COVID-19.
During his address at Afya House, Kagwe said that the individuals, some of who were highly respectable tricked the police officers manning roadblocks that they were headed to a funeral and even had a coffin aboard the vehicle only for it to be found empty by a suspicious law enforcement individual.
However, a message written anonymously to Uhondo News today details how the government through Mutahi Kagwe is reporting news which ‘confusing and inaccurate’ hence exaggerating the threat of novel coronavirus to scare away Kenyans.
The anonymous message reads ;
Hello, those people who travelled to from Nairobi to Homabay went to Rachuonyo North Sub County , Koyugi Location. They travelled with an empty coffin from Nairobi to Gendia Hospital where took the body of the late Mzee Aludo at around 6 Pm. From Gendia to Osakwe the burial place is 30 mins drive. The body was ferried in a police patrol car of a Nyeri inspector of police. The body stayed overnight and was later laid to rest the following day .
In light of accusations by the anonymous person who deactivated his/her account after sending the message,it points out that the government cannot be the sole arbiters of truth by having the power to arbitrarily decide what information can and cannot be in the public domain and what has been “misquoted” or “misreported”.
The government tried to cover up by cautioning the public against spreading unverified and misleading information on COVID-19 and punishing renowned bloggers.
This was a turning point in the effort to control the information about the virus. It is dangerous to allow the government to decide which statement has been ‘misquoted’ or ‘misreported’ by the media.
Instead of acting to contain the spread of misinformation, the government should focus on treatment, building infrastructure and driving panic out of people.
Following the introduction of the first two Kenyans, Brenda and Brian who recovered from COVID-19, a news article by a local daily discredited these claims; adding that the country’s real first Coronavirus survivor was, in fact, a different lady only identified as Lydia – and that the duo that made their first public appearance were the second and the third persons to beat the virus hence denting the public trust.
Even as the “official” figures continue to soar, the questions now for Kenyans are ;
- Is the government trying to raise the figure for the sake of sensationalism?
- Can we believe the government?