DP Ruto suspends political activities after gov’t banned rallies for 30 days


DP Ruto suspends political activities after gov't banned rallies for 30 days
Deputy President William Ruto addresses a rally in Igembe, Meru on March 7. Photo: William Ruto/Twitter

Deputy President William Ruto has suspended all public engagements, hours after his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a 30-day ban on all political gathering to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In a statement on Twitter posted on Friday, DP Ruto said his decision was in line with the government’s remedial measures meant to slow the spread of the virus.

“The COVID-19 infection rates have become a serious source of concern making it necessary for GoK to take remedial measures to manage and contain the pandemic. With the President’s announcement of containment measures, I forthwith suspend all public engagement until further notice,” DP Ruto wrote.

The Deputy President was expected to tour Matayos on Saturday and Mwea on Sunday on empowerment rallies while drumming up support for his 2022 campaign machine- the hustler nation.

On Friday however, President Uhuru Kenyatta dealt a blow to politicians, announcing a ban on all political gatherings as Kenya grapples with a third wave.

“The escalation or de-escalation of the containment measures in regard to prohibition of political gatherings is dependent on whether the national endeavor to break the chain of transmissions will have been achieved,” he said on Friday.

The President acknowledged that political gatherings have been exposing Kenyans to risk of contracting the virus since social distancing was not adhered to.

“To secure the implementation of the order on political gatherings, public ceremonies, I, hereby further direct the National Government Administration Officers (NGAO) jointly with the National Police Service and county government enforcement officers to strictly enforce this Public Order regardless of the social and political status of the conveners of the political gatherings,” he said.

As a result of the curfew extension, restaurants, bars and other establishments which are open to the public will be still expected to close businesses by 9pm.

President Kenyatta on Friday directed the relevant agencies to enforce compliance to the dusk to dawn curfew.

Establishments that provide essential services that have employees working on double shift have however been exempted from the curfew.

“To provide business continuity during the containment period, exemption on the application of curfew is hereby granted to essential services providers, factories and construction sites to operate night shifts,” the President added.

He opined that even though Kenya has lost at least Ksh. 560billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country is on track to grow its economy by 7 percent in 2021.

“Projections indicate that, in spite of the COVID-19 plunge, our economy is likely to bounce back and grow 7% in 2021. If we had not made the bold decisions of 2020, as is projected, our economy would, in 2021 contract by 15%. This would be worse than the Euro Area, -7.2%; India, -11.5%; and the United Kingdom, -10%,” he added.

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