MPs should step up and show their mettle during the Covid-19 crisis

Parliament in session
Parliament in session

The ravages of COVID-19 are right here with us. The curfew of 7.00pm to 5.00am is the final nail on the coffin to the nation’s now literally locked down economy.

The wheels of commerce have ground to a halt. It is only the telecommunication companies that are doing booming business and those in the sanitization and COVID-19 prevention sphere.

President Uhuru Kenyatta made an address to the nation on 25thMarch 2020 where he outlined measures to mitigate the health and commercial ramifications unleashed by COVID-19. Most of the proposals on economic mitigation of the adverse effects wrought to commercial life, economic activities require to be legislated before any budgetary resources are unlocked. But why are Senators and MPs dragging their feet, taking their sweet time to convene and interrogate the Presidential proposals and where appropriate pass them? As it is we are in a state of emergency, life is at stake for millions of Kenyans? Why then is there no urgency on the part of elected leaders. Are they so insensitive, impervious to the lurking dangers facing millions of Kenyans as the economy is locked down to contain COVID-19. Is it not a situation where Parliament ought to have long met to pass necessary legislation to anchor the economic mitigation measures proposed by the President and if they are inadequate, Parliament to impose additional measures? It takes time for legislation to be implemented and all that time means millions of Kenyans are put at risk. What else are these elected leaders engaged in that overrides the risks the nation faces due to COVID-19? We submit they can only be engaged in enjoying the largesse, excesses of what they drain from the public coffers in terms of allowances, salaries, per diems, name them.

Parliament must forthwith step in to ensure no Kenyan dies of hunger because economic activities have been paralysed by COVID-19. Parliament must intervene and set price controls on services and goods that are critical for the survival of the people of Kenya in terms of communication health and sanitization and nutrition among others.

It will be the ultimate failure of elected leaders to procrastinate in their comfort of their homes while the electorate are suffering from hunger, lack of shelter, lack basic necessities for human survival. The challenge is on our elected leaders to spearhead together with the National Government and County Governments the Marshall plan to ensure that everybody is taken care of during these trying times. And the electorate be alert, be vigilant as this crisis is the best barometer to measure whether the leaders you elected to represent you are competent or incompetent self seekers to be dumped come 2022. This is the moment if ever there was one when leadership is called for. Bravery, clarity, action is called for now than ever. The National Government is obligated to present the “Coronavirus Act 2020” to bring to law the raft of measures to deal with the existential threat COVID-19 poses to all of us and for Parliament to deliberate, amend and pass the same. Time is of the essence. No life, should be lost because bureaucrats are taking their sweet time. Whatever it takes we must survive. We must emerge stronger as a Nation, as a people. The Legislative role of Parliament is even greater than ever Executive tyranny, corruption is likely to rear its ugly head if the elected leaders become spectators and rubber stamps for the executive. Vigilance, eternal vigilance must remain paramount granted the history of the executive to use a crisis to plunder the peoples resources.