KQ suspended Gire Ali for recording a video of Souther Airlines landing at JKIA, yet without the video the President could not have issued an Executive Order directing Government departments on making preparations for dealing with coronavirus. Let’s start from the beginning, somehow:
This morning President Kenyatta issued an Executive Order on Coronavirus Preparedness; an order that contains among other things the directive that an isolation centre for Coronavirus Patients at Mbagathi Hospital be completed within seven days. This order comes after Kenyans took to social media to condemn the landing of Southern Airlines flight that brought with it 239 passengers from Guangzhou, China. Guangzhou is the second most hit city by Coronavirus in China after Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus.
The President’s Executive Order ought not to have been made today, but on January 28, 2020, when the first suspected coronavirus patient was isolated at JKIA and later admitted and isolated at Kenyatta National Hospital. Samples taken from the patient were flown to South Africa for further tests, and nothing drastica enough was done by the hospital nor the country to make adequate preparations for handling coronavirus, in case the test turned out positive.
That wasn’t the only case. In mid February, a Chinese man was isolated in Kitui when he appeared ill, yet another isolated himself in Nakuru after exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus. Despite these potential cases, the President did not issue an Executive Order to the Health Ministry and associated departments to make comprehensive preparations on dealing with the virus – well, until a KQ employee Gire Ali recorded the Southern Airlines flight landing at JKIA, with the 239 passengers from Guangzhou disembarking.
The suspension of the KQ employee over his video recording implies that similar flights have been coming to Kenya secretly, given that if he didn’t record and share the flight online, Kenyans could not have come to know about the flight. It is the video that made Kenyans go wild on social media outlets, including setting up and signing a petition for such flights to be stopped altogether.
Concerned doctors also moved to the High Court, forcing the High Court to issue an order to the Executive to the effect that flights from China must be suspended immediately, and that the 239 Chinese that had landed at JKIA and asked to self quarantine to be traced and be quarantined at KDF facilities. The order by the High Court also had directed that KDF medical officials to man all entry points as measure to prevent coronavirus getting into the country. These high level events that led to the President issuing an Executive Order on coronavirus have only happened because of Gire Ali who dared record the video.
What the Executive Order by President Kenyatta issued today means is that a whole month, the President had no intentions of mobilizing the arms of Government to make adequate preparations on how to deal with the virus in case the virus finds its way into the country.
But the Kenyan hero is now in trouble, having been suspended by KQ for doing the only thing that has led the President to issue the Executive Order.