Kenya Won't Ban Flights From the United Kingdom Amidst a National Lockdown

United Kingdom's Prime Minister, Johnson Boris announced on Tuesday that England was to enter a new national lockdown from Wednesday, January 6, 2021. The Prime Minister said that the measure comes as a result of the rising cases of covid-19, which have been associated with a new coronavirus variant that is causing havoc across England.

According to medical researchers, the new coronavirus strain is known as B.1.1.7 and it is believed to originate from the South East part of England. It is responsible for more than half of the new coronavirus infections in the United Kingdom.

Since medical experts warned about the new variant, more than 40 countries including China, India, and Sudan, have taken the bold measure of banning all passenger flights from the United Kingdom to protect their citizens from an imminent pandemic.

However, Kenyan authorities have no plans to ban flights from the United Kingdom amidst the national lockdown announced by the Prime Minister. The implementation of the lockdown signifies the grave situation in the UK and informs other countries like Kenya about a worsening scenario that can be averted if the right measures are put in place and at the right time.

Despite the gravity of the situation in the UK, the Kenyan government has decided to dillydally the implementation of a crucial measure that would aid in curbing the spread of the new strain from its origin to Kenyans. A week ago, the Cabinet Secretary for Health revealed that Kenya would not ban flights from the UK because there was no significant mutation to account for the new coronavirus version in Kenya. Considering the change in circumstances, will the government stand with Kenyans at large and protect them from an impending catastrophe?

Reason for Delay?

They say that history makes people better decision-makers, but this does not apply to the Kenyan government. While other countries took the Covid-19 pandemic as a lesson, Kenyan authorities seem to have skipped that class. The same mistakes that were done last year are being repeated now. While the government facilitated KEPSA's campaign to send flowers to the UK, they could not repatriate suffering Kenyans who had been kicked out of their homes in China. While the government enforced a curfew on Kenyans, it could not stop flights from China, the epicenter of the pandemic.

Presently, similar patterns are emerging. As the United Kingdom emerges as the epicenter for the new strain, the government continues to allow flights from this hotbed of an impending pandemic. Furthermore, instead of preparing healthcare facilities to avert a looming disaster, both national and county leaders are antagonizing healthcare workers.

Some people will argue that the delay to implement the flight ban is due to the 'great' bilateral ties between the two nations. Others will argue from an economic perspective and assert that it is good business for the loss-making Kenya Airways. All the excuses do not justify why around 47 million people should be put at risk for a few people to benefit from selfish relationships.

New Zealand provides a perfect case study as the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, closed the country's borders immediately after the first cases emerged. Were the close partnerships lost when the country took these steps? No. The burning question is, why does the Kenyan government put the interests of foreign countries first, without considering the citizens at all? What is the government's mandate to Kenyans?

Kenyan leaders simply do not care about Kenyans.

They believe that they are not accountable to Kenyans and therefore, their choices and actions are never in line with the citizen's wishes or needs. They know this for a fact and understand that Kenyans do not demand accountability, so they shrug and ask superciliously "What can they do to me, nothing?"

The recent stand-off between the government and healthcare workers shows the disdain that the leaders have for Kenyans. What kind of leaders would get into an impasse with front-line workers during a pandemic. To make matters worse, why would a government put employees at risk of death and sickness by failing to provide health insurance and personal protective equipment (PPEs), then threaten to sack them for airing out their grievances.

It is simple, the behavior of Kenyan leaders shows the disdain that they harbor towards the citizens. That is the reason why they will not ban flights from the UK but they will be quick to announce curfews and lockdowns once the virus gets out of control. They will not take responsibility for their actions but they will blame the citizens for spreading the virus. They will not provide incentives to cushion citizens, but they will plan and execute criminal heists like the infamous Covid-19 millionaires' scandal.

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KEMSA employees (UNEP)

As governments around the world take the necessary precautions to protect their citizens and ensure that there is adequate protection for their front-line workers, the Kenyan government is in disarray as it antagonizes its health workers and takes archaic measures such as harassment and intimidation to curb the spread of coronavirus.