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Leaders give diverse views on masks debate

Whilst Governor Lenku says the county do not have the capacity to provide residents with masks, Nominated Seneta says local training centers can be facilitated to produce for the vulnerable

By Fredrique Ntele

A section of Kajiado leaders have expressed diverse views on the raging face masks debate, which ensued after the government has offered a directive warning members of the public to constantly put on the masks or face fines and/or imprisonment.

Nominated Senator Mary Seneta become the latest to wade into the debate, who through a Facebook post, urged both the national and county governments to facilitate the local training and vocational centers — namely; Isinya and Meto — to be able to produce face masks which can then be distributed to underprivileged County residents.

She made the remark after she reportedly made a spot check at some rural areas in the county — Mailua, Torosei and Ilkelunyeti — where she found that a majority of the residents in the area could not afford buying the masks.

Her suggestion comes barely hours after Governor Joseph ole Lenku has said that the county government cannot purchase the crucial masks to residents, and instead, he said they should acquire for themselves.

Speaking today on a live Skype at the national Citizen Television, the governor said: “We are only able to provide masks to health personnel… as at now, ours is actually to sensitise the public to try and acquire them.”

He applauded the national government for what he said, they are “trying to work a way out using the National Youth Service to provide more masks.”

On the same note, he urged development partners in the county to come on board and help supplement his government’s efforts in combating the impact and possible emergencies of the Covid-19.

Following the government directive, residents have been complaining that given the current economic hardships occasioned by the outbrake of the coronavirus pandemic, they are struggling to feed their families, thus are unable to incur the extra costs of purchasing the masks.

This therefore necessitated citizens of good will, to show up and sacrifice the little coins they have to buy the covering masks to some vulnerable members of the society, with the recent case being that of Rahab Kungu, a police constable based in Namelok police station in Kajiado South Constituency.

The officer has distributed more than 200 masks, mainly to street families, widows and boda boda riders, whom she said, could be jailed or fined when they are genuinely lacking money.

In a separate interview, boda boda riders in Kajiado, Bissil and Namanga towns, told the Kajiado Star, besides their daily income, they incur costs in fueling their motorcycles, and at the end of the day, they will still be required to raise Ksh300 to pay their bosses.

They said, given that most people are now staying in their homes, and movement is restricted in some parts besides stringent regulations recently imposed to maintain safe social distance among people, getting some other extra money to spend on masks is not an easy thing to come by.

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