Politicians are exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to earn themselves political points. 

Across the country, governors, MPs, senators and MCAs have initiated programmes to deliver branded sanitiser to residents. Some of them have started supplying water bowsers, soap and sanitiser to residents in what is seen as part of their scheme to gain points. 

They are embroiled in cut-throat competition with opponents in providing the essentials in the war on Covid-19. Some politicians keen on getting the best out of the pandemic have delivered branded drums full of water to gain recognition in the ‘political market’. 

The drums and browsers have been stationed at strategic bus stops and bodaboda shades. However, questions abound over the quality of the products. 

“We are not sure of the quality of the sanitiser and soaps politicians are giving to members of the public,” public health expert Alfred Njuguna said. 

Njuguna warned that unless the government heightens surveillance to guarantee Kenyans of the quality of the sanitisers, the efforts rolled out to contain the spread of Covid-19 would be counterproductive. 

“Where are these sanitisers manufactured, do they have the quality marks? How are they released to the public for use?” he said. 

The Kenya Bureau of Standards has warned against the proliferation of fake sanitiser and masks in the market and asked Kenyans to be vigilant.

On Sunday, Kebs managing director Bernard Njiriani cautioned manufacturers against taking advantage of the pandemic to enrich themselves by selling substandard uncertified sanitiser.

“We have already heightened surveillance across the country with some of our officers conducting targeted operations to ensure that culprits would be arrested, prosecuted and denied permits for their businesses,” he told the Star.

Njiraini said anyone who risks the lives of other citizens by not following due process will be dealt with in accordance with the law.

Meanwhile, the Kenya Pipeline Corporation said it had released about 130,000 litres of freehand sanitiser to members of the public to counter the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

The move, implemented in conjunction with the private sector, follows President Uhuru Kenyatta’s order for the release of alcohol-based sanitiser to the public. 

KPC managing director Macharia Irungu said the free sanitiser is a classic example of what joint public-private sector efforts can do for the country.

“In less than two weeks, KPC, oil marketing companies and other players have produced over 130,000 litres of freehand sanitisers to benefit Kenya’s most vulnerable people,” Irungu said in a statement.

The sanitiser is packed in 500-millilitre bottles for household use and 20-litre containers for institutions such as health centres, police stations, market centres, and other places where Kenyans frequent. The distribution was to be overseen by county commissioners in all the 47 counties.