NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 18 – The 7th Annual Devolution Conference that was set for August 23 to 26th has been suspended indefinitely following a ban on all forms of gatherings as part of measures to tame the rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the country.
The decision to suspend the conference was made at State House, Mombasa where President Uhuru Kenyatta met political leaders and top government officials, among them Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.
A statement from State House said the countrywide night curfew that starts at 10pm to 4am will remain in force for a further 60 days following an increase in new COVID-19 infections and deaths.
“All forms of gatherings including the Devolution Conference that was scheduled for next week in Makueni have been suspended,” a senior official who attended the meeting told Capital FM News, “a statement to that effect will be issued.”
President Kenyatta was expected to open the conference.
The theme for this year’s conference was “Level Governance for Climate Action, sub-national mobilization in unlocking the full potential of climate action in the post COVID-19 era.”
The Head of State who met with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) leaders including Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Moses Wetangula (FORD Kenya) and Gideon Moi of KANU where they committed to lead by example in the fight against COVID-19 in the country.
Whereas the political class has remained the weakest link in the fight against the virus, the Head of State has reaffirmed their commitment to do their best and help minimise the spread of the virus.
With next year’s General Election fast approaching, top political leaders have been holding public meetings despite a ban by the Ministry of Health.
The new announcement on new COVID-19 containment measures is contained in Public Order No. 5 of 2021 on the Coronavirus Pandemic signed by President Kenyatta following a meeting at State House, Mombasa with political leaders Raila Odinga (ODM), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Gideon Moi of KANU and Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya).
“The leaders agreed to play a leading role in encouraging Kenyans to abide by the Covid-19 containment protocols and interventions including uptake of vaccines,” a statement from State House states in part.
Here are the key declarations by the president as contained in Order No. 5:
1. THAT, the hours of curfew in the territory of the Republic of Kenya shall continue to be observed from 10.00pm to 4.00am for a further containment period of 60 days. Office of the President Page 4 of 7 Consequently, the differentiated curfew hours and specific restrictions for the previously identified COVID19 hotspot zones of Kisumu, Siaya, Homabay, Migori, Busia, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma, Kisii, Nyamira, Kericho, Bomet and Trans Nzoia Counties are lifted, and these Counties will now observe the nationwide curfew prescriptions as specified herein.
2. THAT, all physical/in-person public gatherings and meetings, including political rallies and campaign meetings for impending by elections are hereby suspended with immediate effect for a period of 60 days.
3. THAT, all other social gatherings, including weddings, celebrations of marriage or traditional unions, ceremonies of rites of passage, funeral/cremation ceremonies and all other similar events or ceremonies, shall strictly adhere to the 100-person attendance limit as prescribed; Office of the President.
4. THAT, in addition to the prevailing guidelines on funeral/interment ceremonies, and to further enhance compliance with the guidelines thereto, officiators and proprietors of funeral homes are to strictly adhere to the prescribed 96 hours of confirmation of death, and secure processing for burial within this period, failure to which appropriate action against management, staff, and premises shall be taken where exceptions are not justified.
5. THAT, places of worship nationwide, shall continue to strictly adhere to the one third (1/3) rule for in person worship and congregational worship, and protocols on hygiene and social distancing in accordance with the guidelines of the Inter Faith Council; Office of the President.
6. THAT, the operations of bars, restaurants and eateries shall continue as guided by the Ministry of Health guidelines, failure to which appropriate action against management, staff, patrons, and premises shall be taken.
7. THAT, National Government Administration Officers are to secure compliance of these directives without fail. Responsibility and consequence for breach shall be borne by the National Government Administration Officers in whose jurisdiction the breach occurs.
8. THAT, in enforcing these measures all security sector agencies are directed to ensure that organizers and/or individual leaders, including senior public sector officials and political leaders take personal responsibility and are held to account for any violation of the measures; Office of the President.
9. THAT, the measures contained herein extend the related containment measures outlined in Public Order No. 4 of 2021 issued vide the 16th Presidential Address of 29th June 2021. All other rules, guidelines, protocols not reviewed through this public order shall continue to apply until otherwise notified.