Raila denies meeting Kilifi Deputy Governor who is quarantined over coronavirus


Raila denies meeting Kilifi Deputy Governor who is quarantined over coronavirus
ODM party leader Raila Odinga and Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi. PHOTOS | COURTESY

In Summary

  • Mr. Odinga admitted to making a low-key trip to the Coast mid last week.
  • He however stated that he only met Mombasa Deputy Governor Dr. William Kingi and spent the rest of the visit resting in his house.

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga has denied meeting Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi who is suspected to have contracted the coronavirus.

In a press statement issued by his spokesman Dennis Onyango on Monday, Mr. Odinga admitted to making a low-key trip to the Coast mid last week, but termed reports claiming he met with Mr. Saburi as lies and malice.

The ODM leader says he only met Mombasa Deputy Governor Dr. William Kingi and spent the rest of the visit resting.

“During the Mombasa visit, Mr. Odinga did not meet with any of the leaders of the Coastal counties or their deputies, except the Deputy Governor of Mombasa County Dr. William Kingi. He didn’t meet Deputy Governor of Kilifi County,” reads the statement.

“Mr. Odinga appeals to the public to treat reports indicating otherwise as lies and malice. He appeals to Kenyans to treat such reports as the work of people who have failed to comprehend the magnitude of the challenge the nation is facing and instead find pleasure in abusing social media platforms to spread misinformation to cause fear and panic, a trend the State must arrest urgently.”

The former premier further stated that he has been following government directives since the first case of the coronavirus was announced in the country on March 13, 2020.

The African Union High Representative for Infrastructure further says he has since suspended travels outside the country as well as all public gatherings and meetings.

“Mr. Odinga has been operating mostly from home while transacting official business online. In addition, he has since suspended operations at his Capital Hill offices to minimise human traffic to the office,” added the statement.

“As the State makes frantic and commendable efforts to secure the country, Mr. Odinga appeals to Kenyans to continue obeying directives from the Government including frequently washing their hands, staying away from crowded places including places of worship, streets and bars, staying at home and relying on factual information that the Ministry of Health is providing on a daily basis.”

Mr. Saburi has come under heavy criticism and is set to be charged in court after it emerged that he defied a government directive to self-quarantine upon arrival back into the country from a trip to Germany.

The government had earlier ordered that any person entering the country from a destination with confirmed cases of coronavirus should proceed on self quarantine.

It would however emerge that Saburi ignored the precautionary measure and went ahead to attend several weddings and funerals.

The deputy governor is also understood to have mingled with county staff in complete disregard of the government directive aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

In a press briefing on Sunday, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe indicated that the deputy governor has already been placed under forced quarantine, and would be arraigned after the 14-day quarantine period.

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Story By Ian Omondi
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