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How ‘hakuna barakoa, hakuna huduma’ will work

In what appears to be the Government trying hard to manage the spread of the novel Coronavirus in the country, President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday announced a raft of measures.

The extra measures came as a result of an extra-ordinary meeting with the COVID-19 National Response Committee held on the same day, a session that Uhuru convened to deliberate on the rising cases of COVID-19, in what points to a second wave of coronavirus in the country.

Apart from blaming leaders and politicians who have been going about their business in total disregard of the Ministry of Health’s guidelines to contain the spread of the deadly virus, President Uhuru also said that Kenyans have dropped the ball by neglecting their civil responsibility of strictly observing the protocols.

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In addition to extending the nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew up to 2021, pushing the gradual reopening of schools to 2021, and banning all political rallies, the government has introduced a new policy- ‘No Mask, No Services’, translated to ‘Hakuna Barakoa, Hakuna Huduma’ in Swahili.

This is a policy that all government agencies have been advised to adopt. With this policy, the government entities will render services to any person who does not abide by the COVID-19 guidelines, including wearing of face mask.

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“Fellow Kenyans, the government does not have the ability to police the morality of its citizens…we will double our reinforcement but it is you the public that will fight the war against COVID-19,” said Uhuru, who also advised the private sector and individual enterprises to join the government in implementing the policy.

Further, Uhuru directed the Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i-led Ministry of Interior to make sure that Kenyans are strictly adhering to COVID-19 measures.

Local administrators will also be required to jointly ensure that the public in their locale are observing all COVID-19 protocols.

Scaling down in-person engagement

With immediate effect, all Cabinet Secretaries, Chief Administrative Secretaries, and Permanent Secretaries have been directed to scale down all in-person engagement within government. This means that ministries will have to take appropriate steps of providing virtual services.

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In a bid to protect vulnerable government staffers who have underlying health conditions and advanced age, all officials who are 58 years and above will be required to work remotely.

“Between June and end of September, the country witnessed some level of public awareness about the pandemic, and we took our civil responsibility seriously. But after the de-escalation, we dropped the ball, all this was built around the false notion that because the curve was flattening, we were safe,” added Uhuru.

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