Fact-Check: Are These the 17 MPs Who Tested Positive for Covid-19?

  • File image of Parliament in session.
    File image of Parliament in session.
  • After local dailies reported on Tuesday, April 7 that 17 Members of Parliament had tested positive for Covid-19, a list purporting to reveal the identities of the seventeen lawmakers began spreading like wildfire.

    The list was widely circulated on platforms including Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter and sparked panic among some of the mentioned leaders' friends, family and constituents who sought to establish the truth of the matter.

    Names on the list included John Mbadi, Caleb Kositany, James Orengo, Omar Mwinyi, Junet Mohammed, Gladys Boss Shollei, Irungu Kangata, Mwinyihaji Mohammed, Simba Arati, Imran Okoth, Sylvanus Maritim, Godfrey Osotsi, Caleb Amisi, Issa Juma Boy, Khatib Mwashetani, Benjamin Tayari and Kassim Tandaza.

    Investigations by Kenyans.co.ke which included conversations with some of the lawmakers on the list, coupled with a statement from Lancet Laboratories which carried out the tests on the parliamentarians have, however, established that the purported list of Covid-19 positive legislators is fake.

    File image of Parliament in session
    File image of Parliament in session
    Daily Nation

    Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi told Kenyans.co.ke that the list was unfounded on any truths, revealing that he was tested for Covid-19 on Friday, April 3 at Parliament buildings and received a negative result on Monday, April 6.

    "I am disturbed by the highly misleading information circulating in social media that I together with 16 other members of parliament have tested Covid-19 positive.

    "In response to Parliamentary Service Commission communication issued on Friday, April 3rd 2020 on Covid-19 testing for members of parliament, I presented myself for voluntary testing at Parliament buildings on the same day at around 2:00 PM. The test results were released to me by Monday, 6th April 2020 by Lancet's Dr. Gichuru who confirmed that I had tested Covid-19 negative.

    "As I continuously observe the guidelines issued by the government, I will continue to undergo voluntary precautionary tests in the coming days. In the unfortunate event of positive results, I will truthfully and bravely make such information public," Osotsi asserted.

    In a press statement, Lancet Kenya rubbished the claims as they explained that only the Ministry of Health had the authority to release Covid-19 positive results to the public.

    "The tests were carried out voluntarily, upon discussion with the relevant doctors for Parliament. The results are thereafter being released by the doctors to each individual person, to ensure confidentiality is safeguarded.

    "The purported information circulating in the media about Covid-19 confirmed cases at Parliament is completely incorrect, misleading and should be disregarded. In particular, the information circulating both in terms of positive numbers and names of people who have allegedly tested positive for Covid-19 is entirely false," he stated.

    Another lawmaker who spoke to Kenyans.co.ke on condition of anonymity stated that the list was the work of 'lazy bloggers'.

    "We were tested but I know for sure that a lot of the names on that list tested negative. It's the work of lazy bloggers," he stated.

    On his Twitter page, Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang'ata also rubbished the purported list asserting that he had not even been tested for Covid-19.

    "Ignore the propaganda in the gutter press. I haven't taken a Covid-19 test. I will do so soon. I'm busy at home editing my PhD thesis," he stated.

    Saboti MP Caleb Amisi also issued a statement distancing himself from the list and went a step further to publish his test results from Lancet indicating he was found negative for Covid-19.

    Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang'ata attends a court session on August 29, 2019
    Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang'ata attends a court session on August 29, 2019
    Daily Nation