Scandal of 42 counties that can’t handle Covid-19

The push for counties to prepare for Covid-19 is slowly turning into a scandal after it emerged that some governors lied that they had attained 300-isolation-bed capacity.

An inspection ordered by President Kenyatta ahead of his crisis meeting on the pandemic today has revealed that only five counties, and not 26 as reported by the Council of Governors (CoG) last week, have set up 300 beds.

The shocking revelation not only puts dishonest county bosses on the spot but also lands them in an awkward situation as they face the Head of State.

Already, CoG Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya, who relayed the misleading numbers on Friday, has reportedly refused to speak on behalf of all counties and asked each governor to brief Mr Kenyatta on their level of preparedness.


According to the preliminary report by the technical team, seen by the Nation, only Mombasa, Murang’a, Kiambu, Machakos and Kakamega have put in place the necessary structures to handle the soaring infections.

But on Friday, Mr Oparanya in his “State of Devolution Report” said only 21 counties were yet to attain the 300-bed capacity and had requested for more time.

Some of the counties that were said to have met the target are Mombasa (432) Machakos (373), Nyeri (340), Kiambu (325), Uashi Ngishu (324), Makueni (312), Kisii (310), Kilifi (308), Muranga (305) and Homa Bay (300).

Cumulatively, the 47 counties were said to have attained a total of 11, 934 isolation beds against the national target of 30,500 units.

However, according to part of the inspection report dated July 24, Nyeri has 188 beds only, Kilifi (271) Baringo (88), Turkana (30), Nakuru (184), Narok (56), Embu (187), Meru (106), Kajiado (25), Kwale (72), Bungoma (25), Busia (194) and Vihiga (105).


“The chair is not amused and has since declared that he is not going to talk on behalf of the governors as far as the beds capacity directive is concerned. Each governor for himself/ herself,” an official in the inspection team told the Nation yesterday. The Nation has also learnt that Mr Oparanya’s speech today will not include figures on the number of isolation beds.

Today’s summit, which was postponed from Friday, will review the surge of Covid-19 infections in the country amid speculation that some containment measures that had been lifted could be reimposed.

However, sources within the Interior ministry yesterday said a review the 9pm-4am curfew may not feature during the President’s extra-ordinary summit.

The curfew is therefore likely to continue until August 6 when it expires as stated by the President during his July 6 review of restrictions.

In his last Covid-19 speech, the President warned that with the numbers of infected persons increasing exponentially the government will lock down the country.

“In the next 21 days, we shall study patterns of interactions and the spread of the disease and any trends that signal a worsening of the pandemic, we will have no choice but to return to the lock-down at zero-option,” said the President.

The governors had earlier requested the postponement of the summit from last week to today given that they did not have a clear agenda to discuss at the summit. But even after being granted time, they disagreed in their pre-summit meeting on measures to be taken to contain the virus.

As a group of governors called for locking down of Nairobi and bringing back cessation of movement measures into and outside the capital, claiming it was a virus hotspot, others opposed with claims that there was no scientific backup.

However, as of Sunday, some governors had suggested a lockdown of three counties, which have not recorded any case, including West Pokot, Baringo and Samburu. This, they said, will prevent the virus from spreading to the counties that have tested a negligible number of people.

Additional report Mary Wambui

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